Who Gets LASIK Eye Surgery?
If you’ve ever wondered if LASIK is right for your vision health, you might have lots of unanswered questions before you even begin. Do you need to have a certain prescription to qualify? How bad do your eyes have to be? Can your vision be too bad? What if you have other vision issues beyond poor eyesight? Will you still have to wear contacts.
The answer to who gets LASIK eye surgery (and to all of those questions) depends on a couple of qualifying criteria.
A Few Basic Rules
While there are a number of more detailed numbers and qualifiers doctors must evaluate when considering you for LASIK surgery, we want to pull back the curtain on few basic rules that might help you understand if LASIK is worth pursuing.
You’re between the ages of 18 and 60
Eighteen is the minimum age for LASIK procedures, helping to ensure your prescription is stable.
If your eyes are changing at the time of the procedure (as happens with younger patients who are still growing and adjusting) the treatment will not last, meaning you’d have to go back to glasses or contacts or have an enhancement procedure.
It’s a good rule of thumb, when considering LASIK, to have consecutive yearly exams with your eye doctor to verify your prescription is stable. We want this to be a long-lasting treatment in which you enjoy correction free vision for many years.
Although not set in stone, sixty is considered the upper limit for refractive surgery consideration. This is typically the age cataracts begin affecting your vision.
A cataract forms when the lens inside the eye behind the iris (the colored portion of the eye) begins to yellow and become cloudy. As the lens ages, your prescription can change.
If you have cataracts that are hindering your best-corrected vision, refractive surgery will not be able to improve your vision anymore than glasses do. At this point, the better option is to have cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens.
If you continue to wear prescription glasses after cataract surgery, refractive surgery can be considered to correct any remaining prescription, but again, that prescription must be deemed stable by your doctor.
You DO NOT have cataracts, glaucoma, moderate to severe dry eyes that require meds, or other visually significant problems.
Myopia upper limit of -8.0 D (Nearsightedness)
Like the sixty year age limit, the -8.0 D upper limit is not set in stone (but it does tend to be the upper limit for refractive surgery.)
The cornea can only be flattened and thinned to a certain degree before the optical clarity of your vision is affected. The higher the prescription, the more the cornea must be thinned and flattened to correct your prescription.
A treatment above -8.0 D can be performed but the patient has to have the proper amount of corneal thickness and corneal curvature to support the procedure.
Astigmatism upper limit of -6.0 D
Simply, this is the limit current lasers have the ability to treat.
Hyperopia upper limit of +4.00 D (Farsightedness)
Similar to astigmatism, this is the limit current lasers have the ability to treat.
In no way should you be expected to know all the ins and outs of qualifying for LASIK. But if you think you might be a good candidate based on some of these basics rules, or it’s simply something you’ve been considering for awhile, our doctors would love to meet with you to provide a more complete picture of your options.