How to Ensure Your Eyes Are Healthy Enough for LASIK Surgery

young woman with reading glassesLaser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) has become one of the most frequently performed elective surgeries in the United States.  This surgical procedure can correct a wide range of vision problems that would otherwise require the use of contact lenses or glasses, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. During this outpatient procedure, a laser is used to reshape the cornea and improve vision. And, most LASIK patients are able to quit using their contacts or glasses after surgery! Because of this, it has the highest patient satisfaction rate of any elective procedure – 96% of patients who undergo LASIK are extremely happy with their experience and their results!

It is important to note that LASIK isn’t for everyone. Your surgeon will be able to determine whether your particular vision problems are correctible through LASIK and give you recommendations on preparing for the procedure. This blog discusses how you can ensure that you are a good candidate and that your eyes are healthy enough for LASIK.

LASIK isn’t appropriate for younger patients or pregnant women.

Patients who have not yet reached their physical maturity, usually around the age of 18-20, are not considered to be good candidates for LASIK as their bodies are still changing, including their eyes.  Additionally, women who are pregnant are experiencing hormonal and other physical changes in their bodies that may create complications for LASIK surgery (such as decreased tear production and sensitivity to light).  For these reasons, we suggest that younger patients and pregnant women who would like to undergo LASIK should wait some time for their procedure.

Take care of your general health and discuss all conditions and medications with your eye surgeon.

LASIK is recommended for patients who are in good general health because the body is most likely to heal well and experience fewer complications in a healthy individual.  Through diet and exercise, you can adjust your overall health and improve conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.  Creating good daily habits towards your overall health will also ensure that you can get the most out of your LASIK procedure.

It is also important that you discuss any conditions you have and medications that you take with your eye surgeon because some autoimmune diseases or other conditions can cause complications.  Additionally, some medications are contraindicated for LASIK surgery because they can interfere with your body’s ability to fight infections or heal.

Eye health and vision stability are important for LASIK success.

Certain diseases of the eyes (such as glaucoma or keratoconus) may negatively influence healing from your LASIK procedure, and your surgeon will conduct a thorough eye exam prior to make sure you are free from these diseases prior to surgery.  Additionally, if you have chronic dryness of the eyes, this condition must be treated before you can undergo LASIK.

Also, it is important that your vision is stable for some time before you have the surgery.  Because vision changes may indicate that your cornea is changing, you should have at least a year of stable vision (i.e. – same prescription for your glasses or contacts). If you were to undergo LASIK while your cornea is changing, the results of your procedure may not last very long.

Follow your surgeon’s recommendations about when to stop using contacts and eye makeup.

For our patients who wear hard contact lenses, it is critical that you stop using them for several weeks before your LASIK eye exam.  This is because the use of contacts changes the shape of your cornea, and your body needs time to adjust and re-assume your natural corneal shape prior to surgical alterations. Even soft contact lenses can change your cornea, and we recommend that you stop using them at least a few days prior to your eye exam.

For women who use eye makeup, you should avoid anything that could get in your eyes before your surgery.  You don’t want to risk eye injury or debris in your eyes before LASIK surgery, so giving up the mascara for a day or so can ensure that your eyes are ready for your procedure.

Corrected vision without contacts or glasses is possible for many patients through LASIK. Call 877.542.3937 to find out if LASIK is the right solution to your vision problems!