Does My Glasses Prescription Qualify Me for LASIK?
If it’s time to get new glasses—and you’re tired of breaking, bending, crushing or losing your current pair—it might be time to start thinking about other options… like LASIK.
Today, LASIK works to correct a variety of common vision problems for good candidates. Myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (irregular cornea) and presbyopia (“aging eyes”) can all be treated with LASIK.
However, many eyeglass wearers think they are not candidates for LASIK because they have high eyeglass prescriptions. This may or may not be true for you.
The best way to find out if you’re a candidate for LASIK is to have a thorough evaluation by a board-certified ophthalmologist.
Your eyeglass prescription is just one of several factors your ophthalmologist considers before recommending LASIK. Other factors to understand include:
If your eyeglass prescription falls within the treatable range
Your prescription (or “refractive error”) is measured in “diopters,” a metric unit used to indicate the strength of the eye or lens. Advanced laser vision correction profiles have the potential to treat up to +6.00 diopters of hyperopia, astigmatism up to 6 diopters and nearsightedness up to -12.00 diopters, depending on the laser chosen for the treatment.
If your prescription is stable and your eyes are healthy
To have LASIK eye surgery, you must have a stable prescription. This means your eyeglass prescription has not changed for at least two consecutive years.
Though LASIK is FDA-approved for people 18 and older, many young adults are encouraged to postpone LASIK until their mid-20s when their eyes reach an age of “ocular maturity.” Most prescriptions are stable by then.
The quality of your vision
During your consultation, you should describe the quality of your vision, including any existing visual symptoms such as:
Light distortion. This includes any glare, halos, starbursts and ghosting/blurring around light sources you may experience. Many people experience night vision symptoms as part of their vision. In most cases, night vision symptoms are reduced following LASIK far more frequently than they are increased.
Dry eye. In the general population, dry eye is extremely common. Recent research shows more than half of patients (59.2%) who had symptoms of dryness before LASIK reported their symptoms went away within three months after LASIK.
The shape and thickness of your corneas
LASIK improves your vision by reshaping your cornea – the surface of the eye that helps focus light to create an image on the retina. If your cornea is too thin or misshapen, you may not get the results you want.
During your initial consultation, your ophthalmologist will measure the thickness of the cornea to make sure there is enough tissue for the reshaping required to achieve the desired amount of correction.
The size of your pupils
If your pupils are naturally large, you could be at increased risk of side effects following LASIK surgery, such as poor night vision or blurry vision. It’s important to note, though, that not everyone who has large pupils is automatically excluded from having LASIK eye surgery.
LASIK wasn’t recommended to those with high eyeglass prescriptions when it was first introduced. However, with today’s technologies and techniques, many patients who were told they shouldn’t have LASIK in the past are often excellent candidates now.
If you wear glasses and want to have your vision assessed (or reassessed) for LASIK qualification, schedule your free consultation now.
(source: American Refractive Surgery Council)