Am I A Candidate for Refractive Surgery?

April 26th, 2022

At Swagel Wootton Eye Institute, we make sure all our patients have access to the eye care and treatment they need. Poor eyesight or vision problems, mild or severe, can significantly affect your daily life, even if you use eyeglasses or contact lenses. Fortunately, there are safe surgical procedures for myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, or astigmatism. Our qualified and experienced eye care team and eye doctors can correct vision issues with LASIK, Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE), or Visian Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL). Naturally, you may wonder if you qualify for any of these state-of-the-art procedures. Learn more about each refractive surgery below and contact us to set up a free consultation.

Am I a Candidate for LASIK?


Our patients in Mesa and Chandler have a high satisfaction rate with LASIK surgery, due to its effectiveness. If you would like to move on from glasses or contacts and enjoy excellent vision, you may consider LASIK as one of your first options.

What Is LASIK?

LASIK eye surgery is an excellent option for you if you suffer from myopia or hyperopia, with or without astigmatism. During the procedure, our LASIK eye surgeon uses advanced technology, the Wavelight® Laser Suite, which contains a femtosecond laser and an excimer laser. These tools allow them to carefully make a precise cut and flap on your eye’s surface. When the surgeon folds this flap back, it gives them access to work directly on the cornea, removing tissue from specific places to create a healthy eye shape. After the procedure, the doctor folds the flap back and it heals naturally on its own.

General Guidelines

Prior to coming to a LASIK consultation appointment, you may wish to take our quick LASIK self-test to find out if you’re eligible for LASIK surgery. When you visit one of our Swagel Wootton Eye Institute locations, our eye care team will discuss your eye health. We will evaluate your eyes using our modern Contoura Vision and Vario Diagnostic Device.

  1. Your Glasses or Contact Lenses Prescription

To qualify for LASIK surgery, your prescription must fit into certain parameters, dependent on a variety of factors including corneal thickness and curvature. You must have had a stable prescription for at least two years prior to the surgical procedure.

  1. Your Age

You must be 18 years or older to qualify for the LASIK procedure. This ensures that your eyes and vision have fully matured prior to laser vision correction.

  1. Your Health

It is important for you to be in overall good health, as the success of your surgery and your healing are greatly affected by your health. Accordingly, we may ask if:

  1. Your Eye Health

Along with your general health, your eye health is a significant factor in determining your LASIK candidacy.  We consider injuries, infections, corneal inflammation disorders, dry eye, cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment when addressing your eye health.

  1. Your Corneal Thickness

The minimum corneal thickness needed for any refractive procedure varies based on the actual amount of treatment and will vary with each patient. A minimum corneal thickness is needed in order to make the flap and perform the treatment. The higher the treatment the thicker the cornea needs to be. If you have a thinner cornea, we may recommend another vision correction procedure.

Am I a Candidate for PRK?


PRK is a special refractive surgery to correct myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. If you are not a LASIK candidate, you may potentially qualify for PRK.

What Is PRK?

When your eye doctor performs PRK laser eye surgery, the outer cornea layer (epithelium) is softened and removed by the surgeon. After the procedure a soft contact lens is placed on the eye to allow the cornea to regenerate, which takes about a week. The visual recovery and comfort after PRK is longer than LASIK.

General Guidelines

Our Swagel Wootton eye care team assesses your PRK eligibility by discussing your eye health, your overall health, and evaluating your eyes with our advanced eye mapping devices.

  1. Your Glasses or Contact Lenses Prescription

You must have stable glasses or contact lens prescriptions for a minimum of two years. If your prescription has changed too much, or your refractive error is changing, it may compromise the long-term benefits of refractive surgery.

  1. Your Age

You must be at least 18 years of age in order to qualify for PRK, as your eyes may change significantly before this age.

  1. Your Health

Those who are in good general health often heal more quickly and have a reduced risk of complications during or after refractive procedures. If you have a history of health problems or have health concerns, discuss them with our team during your consultation.

  1. Your Eye Health

Healthy eyes make all the difference during and after your PRK procedure. If you have any eye diseases, disorders, injuries, or inflammation problems, you may not qualify for the surgery.

  1. You Are Ineligible for LASIK

If you aren’t eligible for LASIK surgery, you may make the perfect candidate for PRK. For instance, if you work in a career or play sports where there may be physical contact with your eyes, our surgeon may advise you against a corneal flap. Moreover, your cornea may be too thin to withstand a corneal flap. In either of these cases, PRK may pose a safer option for you.

Am I a Candidate for RLE?


If our Swagel Wootton eye care team determines that you are ineligible for LASIK or PRK, you may be a good candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange, most commonly known as RLE. It effectively corrects hyperopia and presbyopia.

What Is RLE?

RLE is very similar to cataract surgery, but it treats different conditions. Cataract surgery eliminates blurry vision by removing tissue clouded by cataracts while RLE removes a clear lens. The eye surgeon creates a small incision and locates the natural lens of your eye. Then, they break down the lens using phacoemulsification. Once your surgeon removes the natural lens with a suction tool, they carry out an operative exam to measure how well your eye can focus and how it responds to light. This allows the surgeon to choose the proper corrective lenses, or IOLs, for you.

General Guidelines

Our eyecare team assesses certain basic requirements to make sure you are eligible for RLE. We will ask specific health-related questions and assess your eyes during your free consultation.

  1. You Suffer from Extreme Vision Problems

Although other types of refractive procedures are only suitable if you fall within ranges of refractive errors, RLE is ideal if you suffer from severe hyperopia. It may also be an excellent choice if you have presbyopia, a visual acuity disorder that affects older individuals.

  1. Your Age

Like other procedures, we require that you are at least 18 years of age so we can verify that you have stable vision.

  1. Your Health

At Swagel Wootton Eye Institute, we want to ensure all our patients remain safe during and after their surgeries. During your initial consultation, we will ask about your overall health, your health history, and any medications you may be taking. All these factors can have a significant impact on your RLE procedure.

  1. Your Eye Health

Our eye care team evaluates your eyes and asks you about your overall eye health so we can rule out any eye diseases, disorders, or conditions.

Am I a Candidate for Visian ICL?


Our Visian ICL surgery may be perfect for you if you have extreme myopia, with or without slight astigmatism. It may be particularly beneficial for you if you do not qualify for LASIK, PRK, or RLE due to severe myopia.

What Is Visian ICL?

Our skilled eye surgeon creates a small, precise cut so that they can insert a Visian ICL lens in front of the natural lens. You’ll notice results as soon as our surgeon completes the surgery. We may perform a post-operative evaluation during this visit, and we will conduct more at your follow-up appointments. In this way, we ensure your corrective lenses perform well.

General Guidelines

If you are interested in the Visian ICL procedure, our Swagel Wootton professionals will evaluate your eye with sophisticated measuring tools, a Pentacam® and an A-Scan Ocular Ultrasound Device.

  1. Your Glasses and Contact Lenses Prescription

Visian ICL is particularly excellent for extreme myopia with or without astigmatism. We check to see if your prescription is between -3.00 and -20.00D of myopia. It is important that your prescription does not change to a great degree annually.

  1. Your Age

We recommend Visian ICL for our East Valley patients between the ages of 21 and 45 years old. Typically, your eye changes significantly outside of these limits.

  1. Your Health

When you come for a refractive surgery consultation at Swagel Wootton, you can rest assured knowing we are committed to the safety and well-being of our patients. This is exactly why we must verify your health history, current health standing, and medications you may be taking. There are a few health conditions under which you may not qualify for Visian ICL.

  1. Your Eye Health

Your healthy eyes set the Visian ICL up for success. Our staff will perform a thorough examination to ensure you have optimal eye health.

  1. You Do Not Qualify for LASIK

Patients who do not qualify for LASIK may benefit from Visian ICL surgery. For instance, if you have a thin cornea, myopia or hyperopia outside LASIK prescription requirements, or dry eyes, you may still be a candidate for Visian ICL.

  1. Your Eye Measurements

Our qualified eye care team uses our Pentacam® device to scan your eye, to take precise measurements of specific areas. For instance, we may take a reading of your anterior chamber depth. Your eye measurements give us crucial information to determine eligibility and which corrective lenses work best for your eye.

Call Us for a Free Consultation Today

At Swagel Wootton, we take care to ensure our patients achieve the highest success with their refractive surgery. If you are interested in any one of these procedures, don’t hesitate to contact us today for more information and to set up your free consultation.