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LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is laser eye surgery that corrects vision. It is a common procedure for people who wear glasses or contact lenses.
Not all people who have vision problems should undergo LASIK surgery.
There are specific qualifications you must meet, including:
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Before considering LASIK surgery, it’s essential to understand the following:
Refractive errors or vision problems occur when the cornea and lens do not bend light correctly. This means the cornea and/or the lens are irregular in shape
Nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia are all refractive errors
Nearsightedness is clear and distinct vision of near objects
Farsightedness is clear and distinct vision of far objects
Astigmatism can cause objects to appear blurry, regardless of their distance
Presbyopia is an age-related refractive error that causes gradual loss of close up vision
A diopter is a unit used to indicate the strength of your lens
Aside from the qualifications mentioned above, you should also consider other factors before undergoing laser eye treatment. These include:
Your eyes must be healthy before undergoing LASIK surgery. For example, eye infections and chronic dry eyes need to be corrected before the procedure. LASIK is not an option if you have a degenerative eye disease.
During LASIK surgery, the doctor will make an incision into one or both eyes. Your body needs to be in good health to endure this process and heal properly.
You have to be 18 years or older to undergo LASIK. However, optometrists and ophthalmologists usually recommend waiting until your mid-20s (or older).
Vision prescriptions typically change and evolve in your younger years. Waiting until you are at least 25 will make LASIK surgery more effective.
You must have a vision prescription that has not changed over the last 12 months. LASIK will only correct your current eye prescription. If your vision prescription is not stable and continues to change, the procedure will be less effective.
Because LASIK reshapes the cornea, it must be thick enough to sculpt. LASIK is only safe for corneas that are thick enough to be functional again after the surgery.
The average corneal thickness is between 540 µm to 560 µm. Corneas thinner than 540µm may not be suitable for LASIK surgery.
Some people should not undergo LASIK surgery. These are people who:
Vision often changes during adolescence, so anyone under 18 is typically not a good candidate for LASIK. Their vision will likely change again after surgery.
Hormone fluctuations can cause vision changes. Also, medications administered during LASIK might harm the fetus, so it’s not considered a safe surgery if you’re pregnant.
Certain prescription drugs, such as steroids, can interfere with LASIK results. Talk to your eye doctor about any prescription medications you are taking beforehand.
Dry eye syndrome is another eye problem that’s not safe to mix with LASIK surgery. It increases the risk for post-LASIK discomfort and may worsen the condition.
People with the following conditions should not undergo LASIK:
Pupil dilation should only reach 6 mm. But if your pupil dilates 7 to 8 mm in the dark, this might have a negative effect on your vision if you pursue LASIK.
Ideally, a good LASIK candidate should have:
You can expect a comprehensive eye exam when you schedule a LASIK consultation. Your doctor will assess whether or not you are a good candidate for the surgery.
During the eye exam, your doctor will:
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There are other treatment options available, such as:
Consult your eye doctor or surgeon to determine the best vision correction option for you. Ask questions like:
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