How To Know If You Qualify for LASIK

Laser eye surgery

LASIK eye surgery is a great option for many people who suffer from poor vision.  The word "LASIK" stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, a procedure to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.  But not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK.

  1. Age.  If you are under the age of eighteen, you are not eligible for LASIK.
  2. History of vision correction.  Recent history is more the concern when it comes to LASIK.  Risk of complications rises if you are in a period of what is known as "refractive instability."  Essentially, this means that your vision is possibly changing because it has changed very recently.  If you have been seen by an eye doctor within the past year, and prescribed new corrective eyewear, then you are not a good candidate for LASIK.  Vision is often in flux for young twentysomethings and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  3. The rest of your medical history.  When deciding if LASIK is right for you, consider the rest of your medical history as well.  Are you diabetic?  Do you have a virus like HIV that compromises the immune system, or an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis?  Diseases such as these can seriously hamper the recovery process after LASIK surgery.  You are not considered a good candidate for LASIK if you are facing those conditions.

    The use of certain medications - like steroids, for example - can complicate recovery from LASIK as well, increasing the risk that your visual outcome will not be good.

  4. Occupation.  The LASIK surgery you want might be prohibited in your field of employment.  Talk to your employer to make sure your career will not suffer if you choose LASIK.
  5. Hobbies.  Do you play a sport or engage in activities where your eyes and face could suffer impact?  If contact sports are your passion, you may not be a good fit for LASIK.  Rugby players, boxers, wrestlers and all others who could easily be hit frequently in the face should avoid LASIK.
  6. Financial outlook.  Are you able to afford the procedure?  The price of LASIK has dropped, but this question is as valid as it ever was.  There is a good chance that your health insurance will not cover the procedure.   
  7. State of mind.  Are you prepared to take a risk in the hopes that your vision will improve?  Sometimes LASIK is maligned as an ultra-risky procedure, but the fact is that all surgery carries risk.  Before choosing to undergo any surgical procedure, you must be able to accept the risk involved.

Talk to your doctor about your desire to consider LASIK as a means to achieve better vision.  Together, you can find a LASIK surgeon, explore the risks and determine whether you are a good candidate for LASIK.


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