If you’re tired of wearing glasses or contact lenses every day or feel like your vision is holding you back from enjoying life to the fullest, laser eye surgery may be the solution you’ve been searching for. Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for this procedure.
Your eye doctor will need to consider factors such as your age, eye health, prescription strength, and lifestyle to determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for laser eye surgery. If you’re curious, a surgical consultation is the best place to start.
What Is Laser Eye Surgery?
Laser eye surgery, also known as refractive surgery, is a common method for correcting refractive error, or a person’s glasses prescription. If you are one of the millions of people with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, laser eye surgery may be a great option.
Laser eye surgery uses specialized lasers to reshape the cornea, the transparent dome over the front of your eye, to correct vision problems. There are different types of laser eye surgery, though the 2 common types are:
They both have advantages and disadvantages and choosing the right one for you is a key part of laser eye surgery consultation.
How Does Laser Eye Surgery Work?
Laser eye surgery works by reshaping the cornea to properly focus light onto the retina, which is responsible for transmitting visual signals to the brain. The precise laser used during surgery removes a small amount of tissue from the cornea to reshape its curvature and improve its ability to focus light. This results in clearer vision.
LASIK surgery involves creating a flap in the cornea using a laser or an extremely thin blade. This flap is lifted, and a second laser is used to reshape the cornea. The flap is then replaced, and the eye is left to heal on its own.
PRK uses slightly different techniques but also focuses on reshaping the cornea. Instead of creating a flap, an entire outer layer of the cornea is removed, and then the laser is used to reshape it.
Am I A Good Candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?
Your eyes are unique, and a consultation will help your eye doctor determine if refractive surgery is right for you.
Here are some factors that could impact your candidacy for laser eye surgery.
Age is one of the most important factors to consider when determining whether someone is a good candidate for laser eye surgery. You should be at least 18 years old to undergo the procedure, though ideally, a doctor may prefer you to be over 21.
Our vision stabilizes around age 20, and younger people can still experience changes in their eyesight and may not have fully developed eyes. By waiting until a later age, you give yourself the best chance of achieving longer-lasting results from laser eye surgery.
To be a good candidate for laser eye surgery, you should have healthy eyes and stable vision, meaning you should have no underlying eye conditions, including glaucoma or cataracts. Some conditions can affect the surgery, while others, such as cataracts, can’t be fixed with refractive surgery.
If you have advanced dry eye, you may not be eligible for the procedure until it has been treated and your eyes have fully healed. Additionally, your corneas need to be thick enough to undergo treatment, though PRK could be an option for thinner corneas.
Prescription Strength & Stability
Another important factor to consider when determining eligibility for laser eye surgery is the strength of your prescription.
People with high prescriptions may still be eligible for the procedure, but the likelihood of success and vision improvement may decrease. Generally, you should have a stable prescription for at least 2 years before laser eye surgery.
If you lead an active lifestyle, it’s worth considering how this might impact your candidacy for laser eye surgery.
While laser eye surgery can be a fantastic option for many people, certain activities may pose a risk during the surgery recovery. Engaging in contact sports or heavy lifting can increase the chances of accidentally damaging your eyes while they are still healing.
Manage Your Expectations
It’s essential to have realistic expectations when considering laser eye surgery. While laser eye surgeries have high patient satisfaction and success rates, some people may still have to wear corrective lenses in some situations.
It’s important to discuss potential outcomes and limitations with your doctor and understand that your individual results may vary.
Explore Your Laser Eye Surgery Options
Laser eye surgery is popular for those who want to rely less on glasses or contact lenses. However, it’s crucial to consult an eye doctor to determine whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure.