Is LASIK Eye Surgery Right for Me?
Ready to toss the glasses? Had enough contact lenses? You’re not alone! Many patients come to Shreveport Eye looking for alternatives to these corrective solutions, and LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses) eye surgery is by far the most widely selected. But what does LASIK entail, and how do you know if you qualify for it—or even want it at all? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more.
Please note that in this article, the term “LASIK” refers to all types of laser eye surgery.
LASIK surgery is a surgery for improving or correcting refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, and astigmatisms. While an array of other refractive surgeries exist (all of which reshape the cornea of the eye to enhance its focusing ability), LASIK surgery is the most popular, involving the use of a laser to reshape the cornea as needed. Patients who undergo LASIK surgery typically achieve 20/20 vision or better.
Are You a Candidate?
Candidacy for LASIK eye surgery is contingent on a patient’s overall health and, more specifically, eye health. This is determined on an individual basis, with our doctors taking your individual health history, prescription medications, and other factors into consideration.
People who have an average level of refractive error and no abnormal vision problems are the best candidates for laser eye surgery. In order to determine these factors, an eye doctor will examine your eyes thoroughly, ensuring your eyes will indeed improve with the procedure. If any of the factors below apply to you, LASIK surgery might not be the option for you:
- Eye injuries
- Adolescent myopia; this will fluctuate over time, so wait to consider LASIK until you are 18+
- Presbyopia or other changes in vision due to age
- Unstable vision due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or steroid use
- Eyelid disorders
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Strabismus (muscle imbalance)
- Progressive deterioration of vision and cornea thickness (e.g. keratoconus)
- Good vision, meaning contact lenses or glasses are only needed occasionally
- Dry eyes
- Large pupils
- Eyes that are regularly injured, or at risk for being injured, in sports
- Higher risk factors such as extreme refractive error, particularly nearsightedness
- Eye infections
- Inflammation of the eye
The presence of medical conditions that are seemingly unrelated to the eye may also rule out LASIK surgery as a viable option for you. These include the following, all of which have been shown to decrease the effectiveness, and increase the risks, of laser eye surgery.
- Untreated and/or unregulated diabetes
- Diseases of the immune system and other conditions that may weaken your defenses against infection and inhibit post-op healing
- The need to take certain medications (e.g. immunosuppressants)
If you have experienced keloid scarring following a surgery in the past, discuss this with the doctor. Other notable conditions that should be mentioned include mental health disorders, back problems, and claustrophobia as these could affect your procedure or recovery.
Potential Side Effects
LASIK eye surgery has a patient satisfaction rate of 96%, with very few patients experiencing complications at all. Of those who do experience, they generally last for more than a couple weeks or months. However, you should be aware of these potential side effects when contemplating the surgery:
- Dry eyes
- Overcorrection of vision
- Undercorrection of vision
- Double vision
- Vision changes (i.e. blurriness or seeing less sharp images)
- Flap problems
- Corneal Ectasia
Because LASIK surgery is an elective surgery and not covered by most insurance companies, the majority of patients do pay out of pocket. Be sure this is feasible for you before scheduling your procedure.
So, what do you think? Is LASIK surgery right for you? Carefully consider the information above and consult with your eye doctor to be able to make the decision that is best for you.
Haven’t scheduled an appointment? Don’t wait! Contact our office at (318) 703-5655, and start your journey to better vision today.