How to Determine Patient’s Suitability for LASIK Surgery
Most people know that LASIK surgery corrects imperfect vision. However, the question of whether or not a person is a good candidate for the surgery is a common concern.
People who are candidates for the surgery include those who are farsighted, nearsighted or have astigmatism. In general, they must be at least 18 years old and free of eye diseases like cataracts or glaucoma. Female patients cannot be pregnant or nursing at the time of the procedure.
A pre-operative exam is normally performed to determine a patient’s suitability for LASIK surgery. For this exam, contact lens need to be out for a minimum of one week for soft lenses, and up to six weeks for hard lenses. A patient’s current eyesight will be evaluated using several techniques, including:
- A Wavefront diagnostic scan.
- Dilation of the eyes and a lensometer test to determine vision stability.
- A refraction test to evaluate a candidate’s current prescription.
- A dry eye test.
- An Orbscan evaluation to map the shape, contour, and thickness of the candidate’s cornea.
The following conditions could prohibit a person from being a good candidate for LASIK surgery:
- A thin cornea.
- Dry eye syndrome (the surgery can actually make the symptoms worse).
- Medical conditions such as autoimmune disease, ocular herpes (caused by the Type 1 herpes simplex virus which can be caused by chicken pox, shingles, or STDs) and uncontrolled diabetes, among others.
A candidate who has had a recent eye injury (as recently as within a year of the pre-operative examination) could also have to wait to have LASIK surgery. It is best to make sure the injury is completely healed before trying to correct vision.
LASIK surgery is a great alternative to living with imperfect vision. It does, however, have a number of restrictions which could prohibit a person from undergoing the procedure. (That said, even if an individual is not a good candidate for the surgery today, it doesn’t mean that he or she will never be eligible. With the rapid advances in LASIK technology, there is always hope for the future!)