Can I Have Laser Eye Surgery If I Have Epilepsy?
If you’ve been considering Laser Eye Surgery for a while but have an underlying health condition, you might have talked yourself out of getting a consultation. This is likely because you’re worried that you won’t be eligible for the treatment. However, advancements in technology in recent years mean that more people are suitable for Laser Eye Surgery than ever before – often including those with serious health conditions. But what about if you have epilepsy? Could you still be a candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a common neurological condition that causes frequent seizures. It may also be known as a “seizure disorder”. Seizures occur due to bursts of electrical activity that temporarily affect how the brain works. Epilepsy can start at any age but it most commonly develops in childhood and persists throughout a person’s life.
There are a number of different types of seizures and they may affect people in different ways, depending on which part of the brain is involved. Some common symptoms include:
- Uncontrollable jerking or shaking (referred to as an “epileptic fit”)
- Becoming stiff
- Losing awareness
- Strange sensations
In many cases, epilepsy can be well-managed with the help of anti-seizure or anti-epileptic medications. Other treatment methods that may also help to reduce seizure frequency and severity include surgery, implantation of an electrical device in the body, and special diets.
Some people may be able to stop treatments if their seizures disappear; however, many patients need to continue treatment for life.
Does Epilepsy affect the eyes?
Epilepsy is not generally associated with any permanent changes to the eyes or vision. However, during a seizure, patients may experience some eye changes including rapid eye blinking, eye deviation, visual field loss and hallucinations.
However, visual perception is known to be involved in the triggering of some seizure types. For example, for around 3% of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or to certain visual patterns can trigger seizures. This is known as photosensitive epilepsy. This condition is more common in children and adolescents, becoming less frequent with age.
Epilepsy and Laser Eye Surgery
The lasers used in Laser Eye Surgery emit a flashing light during your treatment. For some patients – particularly those with photosensitive epilepsy, this can be a concern. However, the type of light used in the procedure is not strobe lighting and is extremely unlikely to trigger seizures.
As our expert Laser Eye Surgeon, Mr. Glenn Carp, explains in the video below, Epilepsy is therefore not generally considered a contraindication for Laser Eye Surgery.
If you’re epilepsy is well-controlled, there is a god chance you will be suitable for Laser Eye Surgery. Of course, every patient is different. For this reason, we may consult with your GP and/or neurologist to determine your suitability for treatment as accurately as possible. Furthermore, at your initial screening appointment, you will undergo comprehensive testing and examination to ascertain whether Laser Eye Surgery is the right choice for you.
Taking the step towards Laser Eye Surgery can be scary – especially if you have underlying health conditions. However, at London Vision Clinic, we are dedicated to providing the very best standard of care – and this includes turning you away if you are unsuitable. The only way to find out is to book a consultation at our Harley Street clinic.