Are you a good LASIK candidate?

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.

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Subject: 12 years and going strong

quick, off the top of my head story....i had Lasiks done in 2000 in california by a canadian company, lasiksvision, that at the time was opening locations all over the place. i paid a grand for both eyes. it was their grand opening promotion. my sister had it done a couple weeks after me. so did a friend. I'm still glasses-free 12 years later. my sister just got herself some glasses for night time driving and the optometrist couldn't even detect that Lasiks was done. the friend didn't fair as well. he had problems straight off the Bausch-Lomb machine. his experience sounds very similar to most of the ones I've read above, so i won't repeat here. but i will add... he wears glasses now and is fine. but of course, wishes he never had gone thru the experience. however, he had whacky eyes to begin with, was in hi late 40s, and had a hardcore coke bottle rx. somehow he was told he was a good candidate, but in all reality, from the start, i don't think he was. the bummer at the time was, he's the one who was all gung-ho about it and got my sister and i to go for it! my experience has been very good. i was early 30s at the time. i saw perfectly straight off the table... altho the doctor was yelling at me to stop straining and close my eyes! i was reading license plates and street signs all the way home. the doctors and nurses set up my post operative side-effects really well. i had the halo effect for about a year and was dropping eye drops frequently that first year as well. but it was nothing compared to being able to read the clock straight out of bed, snorkel without glasses, drive without glasses, on and on. when i wore contact lenses my eyes were so bloodshot and dry ALL time time. this was a miracle procedure for me. my vision was perfect and dropping a few drops thru out the day was no burden at all. 12 years on now... tired eyes usually means a couple eye drops are in order. this was the best thing i think i ever did for myself. had i read all these negative experiences, i doubt i would have gone for it. but i had friends who were going to canada at the time to have this done and they couldn't say enough positive things about it! i also don't think i would do it past the age of 40. by that time, age related eye changes are a huge factor and if you can't have a result that will allow you to NOT wear glasses, it's not really worth the money to have the procedure just for a slightly different rx. in my opinion. if you are in your 20s or 30s, with a stable eye rx, healthy, and find a doctor who has done this a mazillion times.... i wouldn't rule it out as an option. both my sister and i highly recommend. 12 years glass free and counting.

Guy Lyons


Wll laser surgery help some one who has had cataract surgery?

Penny Burt


People should be aware that Lasik surgery decreases the probability of accurate correction of vision when having cataract surgery later in life. Although I was happy with the outcome of my Lasik in my mid forties, the result of cataract lens refraction in my sixties was less than optimal. My eye surgeon said this is often the case.

James J. Salz, M. D.


I have been involved in Laser Vision surgery since 1990 and Dr. Slades article is excellent and I am happy to see it on your web site.

Robin Milhollan


I had lasik about 7 years ago, can I have it again. My eyesight is not so good anymore. I am 47.

Sandra Harris


I had radial keratamony about 15 years ago. I have astigmatism and in the past year or so my eyesight has worsened. Would Lasik now help me?

Jean Rabe


I am to see a Lasix surgeon because I have a leaking anuerysm in my eye along with a posterior "something" that I can see. I have had cataract surgery but this is something new. I am 78. Is this risky for me? Do I need after care? I am a widow and live alone in the country with no family living close.

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