Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care is proud to offer LASIK consultation as an effective vision correction option. This procedure is a lasting solution to refractive errors, reducing your reliance on prescription eyewear. To determine whether you are a candidate for LASIK, we will perform a comprehensive eye exam. But there are a handful of requirements you have to meet to stand the best chance you can at a full recovery.
Able to Manage Temporary Side Effects
Although LASIK is considered a safe way to correct refractive errors, it does involve risks, just like any other surgery. While it’s a high-standard procedure, with a great track record of successes (up to 95% successful on average in 300 peer-reviewed studies), your vision might seem a little strange afterward.
Most of these symptoms are temporary, but you’ll have to set your expectations for the following:
- Small pink or red patches on the white of the eye
- Hazy or blurry vision
- Difficulty with night vision or driving at night
- Scratchiness, dryness, and other symptoms of dry eye
- Discomfort or pain
- Glare, halos, or starbursts around lights
- Light sensitivity
A key sign we look for in a laser eye surgery consultation is the level of your refractive error. LASIK seeks to remedy imperfections on your cornea, so you can focus light properly and overcome your refractive error permanently. But what if your refractive error changes, advancing to worsening stages? In that case, myopia control might be a much better fit.
If your prescription changes significantly every year or even less, it lacks the stable condition needed for successful LASIK surgery. We need to confirm that your visual acuity has remained the same for at least a year.
At Least 18 Years of Age
To be approved for LASIK, you must be at least 18 years old on the day of the surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved LASIK for minors.
Good Overall Health
Having good overall health plays a major role in ensuring the success and effectiveness of laser eye surgery. It’s also a determining factor in your ability to recover quickly and heal completely.
Health Issues that Hurt Your Chances of Succeeding with LASIK
Due to the nature of LASIK, your eye will need healing after, and part of that process lies with your immune system. If you have diseases that affect your immune system or healing rate or makes you more susceptible to infection, LASIK might not be worth the trouble. Prominent diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, HIV, and other autoimmune disorders.
Depression or chronic pain issues like migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia can also hurt your chances. With these issues, dry eye and postoperative pain get worse for some reason.
What Can Disqualify You from LASIK?
If you have any active eye infections, corneal irregularities, or other uncontrolled eye conditions, we can treat them before re-evaluating you for LASIK. But some factors diminish the returns you can get from LASIK. Eye injuries, Keratitis uveitis, herpes simplex affecting the eye area, and other eye infections can all disrupt the health of your eye and interfere with normal healing.
Even some genetic quirks out there can hurt your chances of full LASIK recovery. If you have large pupils that widen under low light, LASIK might lead to permanent complications. You might see lots of glare, halos, starbursts, and ghost images.
To succeed with LASIK you need to be free of several more conditions:
- Extreme myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism
- Severe dry eye
- Cornea that’s too thin
- Corneal abrasions or disease
- Keratoconus (cone-shaped cornea)
- Advanced glaucoma
- A cataract affecting vision
- A history of having certain eye infections
- Diabetes that is not controlled well
- Pregnant or nursing women
What Attitudes Do You Need Most When Trying to Get LASIK?
As with life, there aren’t that many guarantees. One thing our optometrists and ophthalmologists do with patients at a laser eye surgery consultation is to inform you of the risks. These risks remain low if you meet the above eligibility criteria. But they’re still there; LASIK is never without its risks.
You can trust us to give it to you straight about what risks of which complications exist — for you and only you. Possible complications include:
- Dry eye
- Under Corrections
- Improper healing
- Vision changes
- Vision loss
Finding a good surgeon might take more than a quick search-engine query. But as optometrists with integrity and due diligence at our core, we refer our patients to laser eye surgeons close to home in Rockville, MD—those we trust and work with often. If you place your trust in us, we can share the burden on this part.
Patient with the Downsides
Decades after successful surgery you might one day again need glasses. We sometimes call these “cheaters” because they help you with close-up vision when presbyopia sets in.
Presbyopia is a common condition where your cornea thins as a part of natural aging. If you got LASIK to fix your nearsightedness and enjoyed 20/20 vision for decades, you might again need glasses.
To maximize your chances of a successful surgery, we have a lot of instructions in the period before and after your surgery, like avoiding eye makeup and contact lenses in the period before. Much of the power of attaining a full recovery lies in your hands! And if you make yourself an asset for LASIK candidate criteria, you’re that much closer to it.
Getting a LASIK Referral is a Meaningful Conversation
Rest assured that your trusted optometrist will explain everything you need to know about the procedure. We’ll also answer any questions you have, so you can make an informed about whether to move forward with LASIK.
The most reliable way to find out if you are a good LASIK candidate is to have your eyes checked. Call us today at (301) 859-4060 or complete our form to request an appointment. We serve Washington, DC, Rockville, MD, and Alexandria, VA.