LASIK eye surgery helps hundreds of thousands of people improve their eyesight each year. Ask yourself these important questions to determine whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure.
Are you considering getting LASIK eye surgery? You’re far from alone — it has been estimated that by 2020, some 720,000 people will undergo the procedure every year. This popularity is hardly surprising in light of the fact that 95% of patients who undergo LASIK surgery say they are satisfied with the results.
But as popular as the procedure may be, the reality is that it isn’t right for everyone. The best way to find out if you’re a good candidate for LASIK is to talk with your eye doctor about the answers to the following six questions. They’ll help you understand whether the surgery is an appropriate solution to the vision problems you’ve been experiencing.
1. Am I the right age for LASIK surgery?
The optimal age range for LASIK surgery is 25 to 45 — before age 25 and after age 45, most people’s eyes are undergoing natural changes, and it’s harder for surgeons to correct your vision in a way that anticipates these changes. While the FDA has approved LASIK for patients 18 and older (there’s no upper age limit), your doctor will consider factors related to your age before recommending this surgery to you.
2. Do I have a lifestyle that’s compatible with LASIK?
If, for either professional or recreational reasons, you’re often in situations where there’s a high risk of physical injury — including military service, construction work, contact sports like boxing and martial arts, and so forth — LASIK may not be right for you. LASIK surgery magnifies the risk of serious eye injury, as it increases your chances of suffering a dislodged cornea, particularly in the few months following the procedure. If at all possible, all LASIK patients should find ways to avoid high-contact activities during their recovery period.
3. Do I have any medical conditions that could complicate surgery?
If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or going through menopause, your visual acuity could be naturally fluctuating, which means you might want to wait for it to stabilize before deciding to correct your vision surgically. Similarly, patients should receive treatment for eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, and corneal scarring and eye inflammations like uveitis before undergoing LASIK surgery. Finally, non-ocular conditions like diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and immunodeficiency states can make LASIK prohibitively dangerous to a patient’s health.
4. Do I have a refractive error that is within the FDA’s approved range?
Certain kinds of astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness aren’t severe enough to justify a surgical intervention. Conversely, a refractive error that is too severe may limit the chances that LASIK will be successful — and may increase the likelihood that retreatment will become necessary. Talk to your ophthalmologist to make sure your refractive error is between these extremes.
5. Are my glasses or contact lenses negatively impacting my quality of life?
While everybody recognizes that wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses can be bothersome, even a surgery as safe as LASIK should only be considered in situations where it’s clearly necessary. For instance, if you only need to wear contacts or glasses occasionally, LASIK surgery might not be the best option for you. However, if your lifestyle is significantly impacted by the need to wear glasses or contact lenses — if you’re an athlete, for example — then LASIK could potentially improve your quality of life a great deal.
6. What kind of results should I expect?
While it’s always good to walk into surgery with realistic expectations, the results of LASIK surgery are consistently excellent. About 90% of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better by undergoing LASIK, and 99.5% report having 20/40 vision or better after the procedure.
Side effects like dry eyes and halos around bright lights can occur, but typically go away within about a month of surgery. In extremely rare cases, your surgeon may want to schedule a follow-up LASIK procedure a few months after your initial surgery to fine-tune results or relieve residual side effects.
If you’re looking for a talented team of medical experts to discuss these questions with, look no further than Swagel Wootton Eye Institute. During your initial consultation, one of our experienced eyecare specialists will walk you through all of your concerns, and help you decide whether LASIK is for you. Find out if you’re ready for life-changing LASIK eye surgery by getting in contact with us today.