LASIK is more accessible than ever, with innovative technology and a vast selection of laser eye centers to choose from. It may sound hard to believe, but LASIK is for almost anyone.
Not only is it affordable and offered all over the country, but a large percentage of potential LASIK patients also make suitable candidates for the procedure. Not everyone can get LASIK, but most patients who go in for a LASIK consultation can have it. Only about 10-15% of people are not good candidates for the procedure.
Qualifying for LASIK means that the surgery will be both safe and effective for you. Several factors go into the process of determining if someone is right for LASIK.
Some you can determine on your own, like if you’re the right age, and others are more complex, like if your corneas are thick enough. Each of these factors is examined during an extensive evaluation.
But there are a few things you can determine on your own before you even get a consultation. Keep reading for 5 signs you could be a LASIK candidate!
1. You’re In Your Mid to Late Twenties
Technically, you can get LASIK once you’re at least 18 years old, according to FDA mandates. But many 18-year-olds still have growing eyes.
While you’re still growing, your eyesight is subject to continue changing. Although you can get LASIK once you’ve turned 18 years old, most LASIK surgeons recommend waiting a little longer.
The age they recommend is being in your mid to late twenties if you want to have LASIK. The reason for this is the stability of your prescription.
Your eyes need to remain unchanged once you have LASIK. That’s why being in your mid to late twenties gives your eyes more time to finish developing and growing.
If your prescription hasn’t changed in at least a year or more, your eyesight is more stable. While LASIK can reshape your cornea, it can’t prevent future prescription changes. So being in your mid to late twenties is an essential qualifying factor when it comes to LASIK.
The good news is that there’s no upper age limit for LASIK. If your eyes are healthy, you can have LASIK as long as you’re at least 18 or older and meet other guidelines.
2. You Have a Stable Prescription
Even if you’re in your mid to late twenties, there’s a chance your prescription is still changing. It’s normal for your eyesight to change just a little over the years, but significant changes can make the results of LASIK surgery less permanent.
LASIK surgeons differ on just how long you should have a stable prescription, but most suggest at least a year. Some prefer at least two years.
But if your eyesight is changing a lot each year, your surgeon will probably want to wait to perform LASIK until it’s stabilized. Having LASIK when your eyes aren’t stable is a waste of money. Wait before having LASIK, and you’ll have much better results!
3. You’re in Good Health
If you want to have an elective procedure like LASIK, you need to be in good health. It may only involve your eyes, but you still need to be healthy enough to recover after having LASIK.
Patients with autoimmune disorders and diabetes can have a more challenging time recovering from LASIK. Now, if you have one of these disorders or a different condition, you may still be able to have LASIK safely. But you need to consult with both your surgeon and your primary care physician to determine if LASIK will be safe for you to undergo.
4. Your Eyes are Healthy
In addition to being healthy, your eyes also need to be healthy. If you have a pre-existing eye condition like cataracts or glaucoma, there’s a good chance you won’t qualify for LASIK.
If you have other eye conditions like dry eye syndrome, you’ll need to have it under control before you can undergo the vision correction procedure. If your eyes are dry, it can make healing very uncomfortable and challenging.
Luckily, dry eye is often treatable through simple environmental changes and nutritional supplements. If these treatments don’t help, you may need to see your eye doctor for prescription eye drops or other medications. If you can get your dry eye under control, you may be able to have LASIK safely.
5. Your Prescription is Within Certain Limits
LASIK can correct your eyesight to an incredible degree, but it does have limits. If your vision is beyond these limits, LASIK may not be the ideal procedure for you.
LASIK corrects refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. During your LASIK consultation, you’ll have your current prescription tested to see if it’s within the limits that LASIK can correct.
Keep In Mind: Cornea and Pupil Size
The above factors, for the most part, are things that you can determine on your own. But realize that there are other qualifying factors for LASIK that are more difficult to determine before your consultation. The two biggest ones are cornea thickness and pupil size.
Because LASIK requires creating a flap in the cornea, your cornea needs to be a certain thickness. If it isn’t thick enough, making the flap could cause severe visual aberrations.
You can be perfectly healthy with thin corneas, but if they’re too thin, LASIK could be dangerous for you and could lead to severe complications. If your corneas are too thin, you may be a better candidate for a procedure like PRK instead.
Along those same lines, if your pupils are too big, it can affect your night vision. While LASIK can improve your vision if you have large pupils, it may be much harder to see in low light.
If your pupils are larger than average, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your eyes. It just means LASIK probably isn’t right for you.
But if you don’t qualify for LASIK, don’t fret! You may not be doomed to wear glasses and contacts forever. Many alternative vision correction procedures are safe for patients with thin corneas and large pupils.
If you aren’t a good candidate for LASIK, ask your surgeon what other procedures they offer and which ones might work for you.
Think that you could be a good LASIK candidate? Schedule your LASIK consultation at New England Eye Center in Boston, MA, to find out if this life-changing procedure is right for you!