In the United States, over 150 million people have a need for corrective eyewear. Because of vision problems, they spend $15 billion on these eye products annually. A lot of that spending goes towards prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses.
Granted, these items indeed help people cope with and manage their eyesight problems. But they can be quite inconveniencing, as they’re easy to lose, misplace, or damage. In fact, in the U.S., eyeglasses are the fourth most commonly-misplaced object!
All these said, there’s no need to wonder that between 600,000 and 800,000 people in the U.S. get eye LASIK surgery every year. After all, it offers not only long-term vision correction but also life-changing convenience.
The question is, are you a good fit for LASIK? Who are good candidates for LASIK in the first place?
We’ll answer all these questions (and more) in this post, so let’s get right to it!
What is LASIK?
LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is a type of laser surgery. It’s often done on people who suffer from myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
The goal of the procedure is to reshape the cornea. With this, the light that enters the eye becomes more focused on the retina. This then results in sharper images and in general, clearer vision.
How exactly the surgeon carries out the procedure depends on the exact type of vision problem.
For instance, correcting nearsightedness (myopia) involves flattening of the cornea. The surgeon does this through the laser, which removes tiny portions of tissue.
For farsightedness (hyperopia), the doctor has to make the cornea steeper. In cases of astigmatism, LASIK’s goal is to get rid of abnormalities in the cornea.
Laser eye surgery through LASIK is almost always pain-free and has little downtime. In fact, with proper preparation, the entire process can only take 15 minutes — and that’s for both eyes! Furthermore, patients may notice results within (or even less than) a day after the surgery.
Here’s a video you should watch to have a clearer picture of how LASIK surgery works.
Determining if LASIK is Right for You
The first thing to do to figure out if you’re a good LASIK candidate is to ask yourself why you want – and should – get it.
The primary reason is convenience, which is also what drives the majority of people to go through the surgery.
Think about it. How many times have you damaged or forgotten where you placed your eyeglasses? If you wear contacts, then you know how time-consuming they can be too.
For those who enjoy the outdoors and athletic people, eyeglasses can impede their activities. The same goes true for those who work in the kitchen (or have jobs requiring them to look down a lot). Glasses can keep slipping, which is why it’s prone to falling and damages.
The bottom line is, getting LASIK refractive surgery can help you avoid and prevent all these. It’s for this reason that up to 88% of surveyed LASIK patients are happy with their decision. In fact, they reported being “strongly satisfied” with its results.
So, ask yourself if you want convenience and fewer hassles when it comes to your eye concerns. If so, and you want a longer-lasting solution to your eye concerns, LASIK may be right for you.
Are You a Good Candidate?
Once you’ve decided you need and want LASIK, next is to determine your qualifications. Your age, prescription (and range), as well as overall health all play roles in this. How thick your cornea is also affects your candidacy for LASIK.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
Do you have to wear glasses or contacts for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism? If so, then you may be an ideal candidate for laser eye surgery.
Note though that most LASIK procedure patients are between 18 and 65 years old. Their eyes are still in somewhat good health, so they may be healthy enough to undergo laser surgery. Age and health often go hand in hand, after all, with eyes often the first to go because of aging.
Keep in mind that who qualifies for laser eye surgery still depends on a case to case basis. For instance, some people younger than 18 can still get LASIK surgery. A good example is young patients suffering from neurological disorders.The most important thing is to see a licensed eye doctor. You want to make sure you work only with experienced ophthalmologists.. They’re the ones who can better tell you whether LASIK or another treatment is your best option.
LASIK is often best done on people who had no drastic change in their prescriptions within a year. That means you should have stable vision for at least a year. You may also be a good candidate if you’ve worn prescription glasses or lenses for two to three years.
How Healthy Your Eyes Are
Some more serious eye conditions may prevent you from qualifying for LASIK. There’s the dry eye syndrome, for example. In this case, the experienced eye doctor will suggest you get it treated first.
The same is true if you’re one of the 24.4 million people in the U.S. living with cataracts. The ophthalmologist would advise you to get cataract surgery to correct this problem first. After this, your doctor can determine if you qualify for laser eye surgery.
If you suspect you have glaucoma, don’t delay a visit to the eye doctor! Keep in mind that this blindness-causing condition affects more than three million Americans. You may not get LASIK surgery for this, but specific treatment is available for it.
Other eye conditions wherein LASIK may not be the first line of treatment include:
- Corneal scarring
- Keratoconus, a condition that leads to the bulging of the cornea
- Other disorders that cause the thinning of the cornea
All this raises the importance of going for regular eye exams too, regardless of how old you are. You shouldn’t visit an eye doctor only when your vision becomes blurred. Nor should you see one only when you notice specks or “floaters” in your sight.
How Healthy You Are
Do you have prediabetes or diabetes, which now afflicts over 100 million Americans? If so, then your eye physician may recommend treatments other than LASIK.
First, because diabetics experience fluctuating prescriptions due to their blood sugar levels. These constant changes can make it difficult to determine the best way to reshape the cornea.
However, you can still qualify for LASIK as soon as your blood sugar has stabilized. By controlling your diabetes, you can become a good candidate for LASIK.
People with autoimmune disorders may also not get LASIK right away. Other conditions that can affect LASIK eligibility are collagen vascular disorders.
Again, the best people to talk about your vision correction options is a ophthalmologist. Consult your primary physician too, as they will work with your eye physician.
Also, even if you don’t qualify for laser eye surgery now, that doesn’t mean you’re disqualified for life. After the primary treatment for your condition, you may already be fit for LASIK.
Pregnancy or Planning for Motherhood
Are you a pregnant or nursing mom? Do you plan to enter motherhood soon? If so, then it’s best to refrain from undergoing any major vision correction procedure.
That’s because pregnancy and breastfeeding cause a huge change to a person’s hormones. These hormonal changes can affect the corneas, causing temporary alterations to the vision. That’s why eye surgeries, including LASIK, aren’t recommended in these cases.
But worry not, because you can still get LASIK afterward. You may only have to wait for several months after you give birth or finish breastfeeding. Talk to your eye physician and OBGYN or GP so you can determine when exactly you can consider and get eye surgery.
Ready to See Things Clearer?
All in all, most people who are in good health and don’t have major health issues can get eye LASIK surgery. It’s quick, effective, long-lasting, and safe. That’s why it has such a high satisfaction rate — 96% of people who received it feel satisfied with its results.
So, once you’ve decided and determined LASIK may be a good option for you, consider getting it soon. The sooner you do, the sooner you can enjoy seeing things much clearer.
If you’re still unsure of your LASIK qualifications, don’t hesitate to connect with us. Our doctors can help you learn about all your vision correction options.