Are you a good LASIK candidate?
Dr. Stephen Slade, an highly rated ophthalmologist in Houston who was involved in the first FDA trials of LASIK, says that “the first thing people need to do is find out if they’re a good candidate.”
Knowing if you’re a good candidate can help you evaluate your chances for a successful surgery. Dr. David Whiting, a highly rated ophthalmologist in Minneapolis, says 85 percent to 90 percent of his patients wanting LASIK are good candidates but there is a gray area.
Take these considerations into account and consult your ophthalmologist to decide if LASIK is right for you.
- Make sure you have a stable prescription. Age, hormonal fluctuations and other medical conditions can affect stability and present additional risks.
- The best candidates are adults whose eyes aren’t worsening and have not had to change their contact lens or glasses prescription in the last year.
- Surgery is not approved for anyone under the age of 18. See the FDA’s LASIK surgery checklist for more information.
- Evaluate other existing medical conditions. Cornea disease, dry eyes, unstable diabetes and various types of arthritis can reduce the chances of a successful procedure. Whiting says they perform a complete eye exam on possible patients and measure vision, do an eye dilation exam, test for glaucoma, and assess the health of the cornea.
- Be aware of risks and be realistic about the possible outcomes. As with any surgery, there are always risks, and there is no guarantee that you’ll have perfect vision after surgery. You may end up still needing glasses or contacts after surgery.
- Certain factors may make you less likely to get 20/20 vision after surgery, such as a really bad astigmatism, near-sightedness or far-sightedness. And since the surgery is relatively new, the FDA says that the long-term safety and effectiveness of the procedure is unknown.
- Make sure the timing works for you. Slade says that it’s a wonderful surgery, but it’s also an elective. “There’s not a rush to have the surgery done. You’re eyes are not going to worse or you’re not going to damage your chances by waiting,” he says.
- Consider how it will affect your daily life. If your job has regulations against this type of surgery or you participate in contact sports, you may want to explore other options.