Requirements For Lasik Surgery

Laser vision correction has been revolutionary in the field of eye care. Millions of surgeries have been performed worldwide, effectively repairing or correcting the vision problems of many patients. However, due to the delicate nature of LASIK, the surgery won’t help all conditions. You must meet certain requirements for LASIK surgery before a doctor will perform it.

Eye Problems Treated by LASIK

LASIK surgery is used to correct common vision problems, which, before the popularity of laser vision correction, were generally treated with glasses or contact lenses.

Three common, treatable problems are myopia (commonly called nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, which often comes with nearsightedness and farsightedness. All conditions involve deformities of the cornea, which cause unclear and blurred vision, preventing the eye from functioning properly.

Eye Problems and Medical Situations Not Meeting the Requirements for LASIK Surgery

LASIK is not utilized to correct various other eye problems and diseases, including:

  • Eyes that have been injured or previously operated on
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammations of the eye like uveitis or iritis
  • Keratoconus (an ongoing degenerative disease causing improper corneal growth).

Some reasons certain conditions and diagnoses are not effectively treated with LASIK are vision-related, others are not. Other reasons LASIK may not be the right choice are:

  • Age: No lasers used for the LASIK procedure meet with FDA approval for use on those under 18. This doesn’t make LASIK illegal for underage individuals, but it has only been performed in extreme cases.
  • Cost: LASIK is expensive. Most medical insurance providers don’t cover refractive surgery, since it’s considered an elective or cosmetic surgery.
  • Other medical considerations: If you have conditions interfering with the immune system and the ability to heal, such as HIV, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes, they may impede recovery from LASIK surgery.
  • Recent changes in vision: Those who’ve recently changed vision prescriptions or undergone previous refractive surgery are discouraged from the procedure.

Are There Alternative Vision Correction Options?

Refractive surgeries that may not use lasers include:

  • Conductive keratoplasty, which uses radio frequency energy to reshape the eye
  • Radial keratotomy (RK), which is a traditional incision-based procedure
  • Refractive lens exchange, which replaces your eye’s natural lens
  • Thermokeratoplasty, where a heat source reshapes the cornea, may or may not employ a laser depending on the surgeon’s technique.

You may want to consider these alternatives before preparing for LASIK surgery.