Can I Have Laser Eye Surgery If I Have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus?

Understanding whether you could be suitable for Laser Eye Surgery can be a difficult area to navigate – especially if you have also been diagnosed with a health condition. The good news is, while there are some conditions that may affect your suitability for treatment, more people than ever before are now suitable for Laser Eye Surgery.

But what if you have systemic lupus erythematosus? Could Laser Eye Surgery still be an option for you? Let’s find out.

What is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus?

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) – referred to more commonly as simply “lupus” – is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the immune system. While the immune system normally helps to protect the body from disease and infection, in people with lupus, it begins to attack its own tissues.

This can affect many parts of the body causing inflammation, and in some cases permanent tissue damage. Lupus most commonly affects the skin, joints, heart, lungs, kidneys, circulating blood cells and the brain. Symptoms of the disease can range from mild to severe; however, with hte right treatment, many people are able to successfully manage the disease.

Does Lupus Affect the Eyes?

Lupus can have a number of effects on the eyes which can include:

  • changes in the skin around the eyelids
  • Dry eyes
  • Inflammation of the whites of the eyes (scleritis)
  • Blood vessel changes in the retina (retinal vascular lesions)
  • Damage to nerves that control eye movement (neuro-ophthalmic involvement)
  • Changes to vision

Some medications used to treat lupus may also have side effects that affect the eyes. For example, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®) can cause retinal toxicity over time, particularly at high dosages. It is therefore recommended that patients using this medication attend annual eye exams to monitor their eye health.

Lupus and Laser Eye Surgery

If you have lupus, your suitability for Laser Eye Surgery may be more complicated compared with other people. While lupus itself may not increase the risks associated with the treatment, certain symptoms – especially those affecting the eyes – may make treatment more difficult.

For example, having dry eyes can often affect a person’s suitability for Laser Eye Surgery. Any kind of surgery involving the eyes carries some risk of inducing dry eyes during the recovery period. Therefore, depending on the cause and severity of your dry eyes, your surgeon may advise you against the procedure.

Having said this, thanks to advancements in Laser Eye Surgery technology and expertise, patients whose condition is well-controlled may well find that treatment is still an option.

In the video below, expert Laser Eye Surgeon, Mr. Glenn Carp explains how some patients with SLE may still be candidates for Laser Eye Surgery.

Youtube video link

As Mr. Glenn Carp points out, at London Vision Clinic, we often work very closely with ocular inflammatory experts to accurately ascertain whether a patient may be suitable for Laser Eye Surgery. So, if you have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, don’t be put off booking a consultation as you may still be a good candidate – there’s only one way to find out.

To learn more about your suitability for Laser Eye Surgery or to Book a Consultation, get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators today.

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