8 Reasons Lasik Eye Surgery Might Not Be Right for You
Not everyone is a good candidate for Lasik eye surgery. Several conditions may disqualify you from undergoing the Lasik procedure. Following are the top eight reasons Lasik eye surgery may not be right for you.
You Are Younger Than 18 Years Old
Lasik results are permanent. However, a person’s eye can change throughout life. Little is known about how vision changes in a child’s eyes and what influences those changes. Vision can change dramatically during the adolescent years. For this reason, results of Lasik may be temporary or unpredictable. Lasik is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18.
You Are Pregnant or Nursing
Having Lasik just before or after pregnancy is not recommended. Hormone fluctuations and perhaps fluid retention can cause changes to a woman’s vision corrective prescription during pregnancy. She may become more nearsighted or develop a bit of astigmatism during pregnancy. Hormone changes can lead to dry eyes during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Dry eyes may make her eyes uncomfortable and could delay healing. In addition, to undergo Lasik, the eyes must be dilated. The medications administered for dilation and after Lasik surgery could be absorbed through mucous membranes, which could be harmful the fetus.
You Are Taking Prescription Drugs
Certain prescription drugs can interfere with Lasik results. For example, some steroids may delay healing and decrease best-corrected vision. Acne medications can cause significant dry eye. Having dry eyes can increase the chance of cornea scarring after Lasik. Your doctor will know if the prescription drugs you are currently taking are acceptable.
Your Vision Is Not Stable
You are not a good Lasik candidate if your prescription is fluctuating. Most doctors prefer your prescription to be stable for longer than one year. However, one year is a minimum. Prescriptions can fluctuate for a variety of reasons. Contact lens wear, diabetic blood sugar changes, and normal aging changes can cause your prescription to change over time. Lasik is a permanent procedure. It makes sense to make sure your prescription is stable before having Lasik eye surgery.
You Are Not in Good General Health
Certain medical conditions can affect the way your body heals after surgery. Patients with autoimmune diseases are not good Lasik candidates. Many autoimmune conditions cause dry eye syndrome. A dry eye may not heal well and has a higher risk of post-Lasik infection. Other conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, or cataracts often affect Lasik results. You should have had no eye infections or injuries within the past year prior to undergoing Lasik. Infection and injury can leave behind corneal scarring that may have detrimental effects.
You Have Dry Eye Syndrome
Having dry eye syndrome is usually a disqualifier for Lasik. A person with dry eyes has an increased risk for significant post-Lasik discomfort and a possible worsening of dry eye symptoms. Having dry eyes can also delay proper healing. This is not to say that a person with dry eyes cannot have Lasik. Your eye doctor will examine you to determine the severity of your dry eye condition. Sometimes patients are placed on special dry eye medications before Lasik eye surgery. Certain procedures, such as punctal occlusion, may be performed to help the dry eye condition and minimize unwanted symptoms.
You Have Unrealistic Expectations
You should not expect perfect vision following Lasik. Many Lasik advertisements are misleading to people considering laser vision correction, often promising an end to wearing glasses or contact lenses. While most patients who undergo Lasik have excellent outcomes, you should not expect perfect vision. Every patient heals differently after surgery. After undergoing Lasik, there is always a possibility that you may need to wear reading glasses or corrective lenses for at least some activities, especially at night. If you expect perfection, you should reconsider having Lasik.
Your Pupils Dilate More Than 7 Millimeters in the Dark
During Lasik, the area of the eye that will be lasered should only be 6 mm in diameter. This is true with most lasers used during Lasik. If your pupil normally dilates to 7 or 8 mm in the dark, you will probably have unwanted glare, halos or starbursts around lights at nighttime. This is becoming less and less of a side effect, however, because newer lasers have treatment zones larger than 7 mm. Ask your Lasik surgeon which type of laser he uses and how large of a zone he or she can treat. Special pupillary testing is usually done as a part of the pre-Lasik measurements.
A Note of Caution
It should be noted that patients with extreme levels of myopia and corneal thinning, or keratoconus, may not be LASIK candidates. You should be thoroughly evaluated by an ophthalmologist to rule out these conditions prior to proceeding with corneal surgery.