I talk to people every day about refractive surgery such as LASIK. A few people are extremely interested, but almost everyone is at least curious about whether or not they are good candidates.
Generally the results of LASIK are very good. But, like any medical procedure, there are risks. Recently, the FDA has been evaluating whether or not some of the severe but unlikely risks are communicated effectively to the public.
Here are some reasons why you might want to consider LASIK:
- Freedom from Glasses: This is the number one reason people are interested in LASIK. This may be because they don't like glasses or because they work in environments that make wearing glasses difficult.
- Freedom from Contacts: Some people can't tolerate contacts or put the health of their eyes at risk by wearing them. LASIK may be a better option.
- Improved Vision: In some cases, vision may be better with LASIK than with glasses.
Here are some reasons why you may not be a good candidate for LASIK and what other options you might consider:
- Eye Disease: It probably goes without saying that if you have eye problems, such as inflammation, infection, injury or diseases of they eyes that LASIK might not be best for you. Glasses are most likely best until the situation is resolved.
- Large Pupils: If you have very large pupils, you may already notice mild halos or glare at night. This is somehwat like what your vision is like after going swimming at night: all lights have little balls of hazy light around them. If you have large pupils, this will be made worse by LASIK. You should stick with glasses and contacts.
- Thin Corneas: LASIK works by using a laser to remove tissue from the front, clear part of your eye. If you do not have enough tissue to work with then it is not safe to have LASIK. However, another type of refractive surgery, PRK, may be an option, as well as glasses and contacts.
- Dry Eye: Because there is cutting involved in LASIK, eyes that are not naturally moist enough may not heal as well. This might affect vision and comfort. Many people who have normal, healthy eyes expereince dryness for a time after LASIK. If you have very dry eyes your best bet is to wear glasses or specialty contacts.
- Young Age: A person's vision does not tend to fully stabalize until they are in their 20s. LASIK cannot be done until the prescription is stable. Possible options for children and teenagers include glasses, contacts, and Precise Cornea Reshaping.
- Older Age: If you are over 40 years of age, you can still get LASIK, but you should know that your near vision will probably be affected.
If you are considering LASIK, be sure to ask your eye doctor what the risks and benefits are for you. I encourage you to shop around. Not for the best price, but for the best doctor who explains everything to you to your satisfaction.
Feel free to email or come in if you have questions about whether LASIK is right for you.
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.