LASIK eye surgery can be very successful when performed on the right patients by qualified opthalmologist, but it is not for everyone. Individuals who have severe refractive errors may not be good candidates for LASIK laser eye surgery, though recent technological advancements have made treatment possible for most people with healthy and stable eyes. LASIK Eye surgery may not be for you if:
Refractive Instability: If you were required to change either your glasses or contact lens prescription within the last year, you are more likely to have refractive instability. If the following represents your situation you’re also more likely to have refractive instability, so it’s important discuss possible risks with your physician:
- You’re 20 years old or younger,
- You have fluctuating hormones due to diseases such as diabetes,
- You’re pregnant and breastfeeding, or
- Your current medication causes fluctuations in your vision.
Your job prohibits refractive surgery. Make sure to check with your employer, military service, or professional society prior to any LASIK treatment. Refractive eye surgery could jeopardize your career, as some jobs prohibit the procedure.
You regularly participate in contact sports. Taking part in sports that may involve frequent blows to the face and eyes, such as wresting, boxing, and mixed martial arts would make you a poor candidate for LASIK surgery.
You’re not old enough. You must be at least 18 years old to have LASIK refractive eye surgery, as no LASIK lasers are currently approved for minors.
Cost. Although LASIK costs are becoming more and more reasonable it is still a relatively expensive surgery. This can be especially true since many health insurers don’t currently cover refractive eye surgery.
You are on medication or have a disease that could affect the healing process. Some medications and autoimmune diseases such as, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or myasthenia gravis, and such immunodeficiencies as HIV/AIDS or diabetes may all prevent the necessary healing process after LASIK surgery.
The safety and effectiveness of LASIK eye surgery is still unknown when combined with certain diseases. Your LASIK surgeon should evaluate your situation if you have any history of the following:
- Herpes simplex or Herpes zoster (shingles) involving the eye area.
- Glaucoma, glaucoma suspect, or ocular hypertension.
- Eye diseases, such as uveitis/iritis (inflammations of the eye)
- Eye injuries or previous eye surgeries.
Other Factors to Consider
The following involve certain risks and should be evaluated accordingly by your physician:
- Dry Eyes
- Irritation of the eyelids with itching and scaly skin
- Large pupils (greater than 6.5 mm)
- Previous refractive surgery (e.g., RK, PRK, LASIK)
- Thin or warped corneas
- Genetic or metabolic problems affecting the cornea
Is LASIK Safe?
A large number of scientific studies have established that LASIK eye surgery is safe and effective for correcting low-to-moderate nearsightedness and astigmatism. It’s important to note, however, that in cases of moderate-to-high nearsightedness, predictability is harder to judge. In a small percentage of these less predictable cases, LASIK side effects are the result. These may include starbursts, dry eyes, haloes at night, or even reduced vision in dim light. Complications from LASIK eye surgery resulting in loss of vision are very rare. Some of these LASIK risks or side effects can be attributed to poor postoperative evaluation or malpractice, stressing the importance of working with a quality and reputable LASIK surgeon. Always consult with your opthalmologist to discuss whether LASIK is or isn’t appropriate for you and your unique situation.
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