If you wear glasses or contacts, you may be considering LASIK surgery to correct your vision permanently. The LASIK procedure uses a laser that changes the shape of the dome that protects your eye – the cornea. This changes the way that your eye focuses light and images at the back of your eye where the eye processes the images.
Overall, the patient satisfaction rates with LASIK surgery are high with 95.4 percent of patients being satisfied with the outcome of the procedure, according to a meta-analysis of peer-reviewed literature published by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery in 2008. The high success rate of LASIK procedures starts with making sure patients are good candidates for the surgery.
LASIK patients should be at least 18 years old, and many ophthalmologists prefer patients be at least 25 before considering the surgery because the cornea and vision can change until then. Patients older than 45 may not be good candidates either, particularly if age-related eye problems have started manifesting, such as presbyopia, or farsightedness, brought on by age as the lens begins to lose elasticity.
Health Conditions and Medications
Your general health is an important consideration when you're thinking about undergoing LASIK surgery because many health conditions can affect your eyes and the healing process. Having a pre-existing medical condition doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to have the surgery, but you you should discuss all current and previous health conditions with your surgeon so he can make an informed decision about whether you can safely handle LASIK.
It's particularly important to disclose any eye-related conditions to your surgeon, including cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, retinal disease and eye-related herpes infections. Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis might also affect your LASIK eligibility.
If you're a woman who is pregnant or nursing, you should wait until you are not before having a surgeon evaluate you for possible LASIK surgery, since being pregnant or nursing can change the way your eye refracts light.
Patients who take oral prednisone or Accutane should not undergo LASIK surgery, and it's vital to disclose any current prescription and over-the-counter medications you're taking or have recently stopped taking with your surgeon.
Dry Eye Issues
Your surgeon should screen you for dry eye issues before discussing LASIK surgery with you. Let your surgeon know if you've had issues with dry eye in the past and if you know what caused them, such as contact use or from taking medications. Dry eye complications could arise after LASIK surgery, and you may be more predisposed to this side effect if you've had issues with it in the past.