‘Can I Have Laser Eye Surgery If…?’ And Other Suitability Questions

When it comes to Laser Eye Surgery, suitability for treatment is the most important consideration made by our surgeons. Now, you might think that if one clinic tells you you are unsuitable for Laser Eye Surgery, you can expect the same answer at any other clinic. I mean, this is the case for many typical surgical procedures, right?

That is, any surgical procedures that are subject to standardised regulations.

When it comes to Laser Eye Surgery, however, it is quite possible to walk into a high street clinic and ask a question, say: “Can I have treatment if I’m over 60?” – and get one answer.

But hop back in your car and head to a private or independent provider and you might be surprised to get a completely different answer.

This can be confusing, to say the least. What’s going on? How do you know who’s right? Well, in all honesty, both clinics can be right. You see, Laser Eye Surgery isn’t your typical surgical procedure

An Unregulated Market

As a relatively young treatment, Laser Eye Surgery is often not available through public healthcare (unless you really need it). This is had led to a booming, but as yet non-standardised, industry.

Today, there are clinics of all shapes and sizes – the chances are, there is at least one clinic on your local high street. From chains to independent clinics and hospitals, all of these providers operate at varying levels of quality and care.

For example, one clinic might offer low-cost treatments but have poor screening processes and outdated technology. In contrast, another might have higher prices but offer a three-hour eye assessment and consultation and have access to the industry’s best technology.

Unfortunately, the first experience of many people is with the former. As a result, there are countless people out there who believe that they are not suitable for treatment – but often, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Avoid falling into the one-clinic trap and keep reading to find out your true chances of being eligible for Laser Eye Surgery — direct from experts at the leading edge of the field.

‘Am I suitable if…

…I’m older than 60?’

So, let’s go back to our original example: Can you have treatment if you are over 60?

The simple fact is, as long as your eyes are healthy, there really is no upper age limit for Laser Eye Surgery. It is possible for some older patients to experience extended side effects of treatment, such as longer healing times. However, this will be discussed at your initial screening if it is likely to apply to you.

Being over the age of 60 definitely doesn’t automatically rule you out from Laser Eye treatment. You may well be suitable for a number of procedures, including PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision – a revolutionary treatment for ageing eyes.

…I have dry eyes?’

Over the last few decades, countless people will have been told they are unsuitable for Laser Eye Treatment because they have dry eyes. Undoubtedly, this was true at the time, but now, revolutionary developments mean that there is a good chance you are eligible for treatment.

Depending on the cause and severity of your eye dryness, it may be that you will qualify for ReLEx SMILE – a minimally invasive procedure. In some cases, you may even be suitable for surface procedures such as LASIK. Even in severe cases of dry eye, monitoring your conditions in the months before surgery may show that you can still have treatment.

…I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?’

One factor that can affect your suitability might surprise you: being pregnant or breastfeeding. While not well-known, the changes in hormonal activity that take place when a person is pregnant or breastfeeding can actually cause fluctuations in their vision.

While it is technically not considered dangerous to have Laser Eye Surgery at these times, the variance in your prescription increases the likelihood of being under- or over-corrected. In addition, medications used before, during, and after the procedure can be passed onto your unborn child.

For these reasons, it is recommended to wait at least a few months after your pregnancy or breastfeeding before you have Laser Eye Surgery. This will give your vision the opportunity to stabilise, leading to the best results.

…I’m taking prescription drugs?’

Occasionally, certain medications can make patients ineligible for Laser Eye Surgery. However, this is rare, and the majority of patients taking drugs (prescription or otherwise) simply need to let their surgeon know during the initial screening. This is to ensure that both you and your surgeon are aware of any contraindications that could have a negative effect.

…I have a cataract?’

Whilst Laser Eye Surgery doesn’t treat a cataract, patients may still be able to have the procedure to correct their refractive errors.

In cases where cataracts are already affecting vision, it is usually recommended that you undergo cataract surgery (lens replacement). This procedure can be combined with a laser ‘top-up’ procedure to fully focus your vision. If a cataract naturally worsens following laser treatment, you can still have cataract surgery (although it’s important to note this is a specialist field).

…I have glaucoma’

As is the case with cataracts, glaucoma cannot be treated with Laser Eye Surgery. But, patients with glaucoma can still have refractive errors corrected. In these cases, your surgeon will work in conjunction with your glaucoma specialist to ensure that Laser Eye Surgery does not affect the management of your glaucoma.

…I have a compromised immune system?’

A compromised immune system can vary in severity and be associated with a number of conditions. As such, suitability in these cases will be assessed on a patient-by-patient basis. The best way to assess your suitability is to attend a thorough screening with a highly qualified and experienced clinician.

Here at London Vision Clinic, we have an extensive screening process which is designed to ensure that our patients get the very best care.

…I have a connective tissue disorder (i.e. rheumatoid arthritis)?’

Connective tissue disorders may be associated with altered healing responses. As such patients with related conditions may be at a higher risk of complications relating to Laser Eye Surgery. While in some cases, this may make you ineligible for treatment, if your condition is satisfactorily controlled, it is likely you will still be suitable.

…I have a detached retina?’

Although Laser Eye Surgery doesn’t treat a detached retina itself, many patients with detached retinas are able to have the surgery. As with other conditions, this will come down to the severity of each case, and so a clinician will determine your eligibility following a thorough assessment at your initial screening.

If you still have a question that we haven’t answered above, give us a call on 020 7224 1005, or Book a Consultation today!

Our Fees start from £5,500 for standard treatment. Higher or very complex prescriptions may cost up to £6,900. Flexible finance makes the best more affordable: Choose payments from £56 per month, or a low 10% upfront. Payment plans from one to five years are available including a 24-month interest-free option. Read more.