Can I have Laser Eye Surgery Treatment if I Have Diabetes?
When starting out on the path to improved vision with Laser Eye Surgery, there are a number of important considerations that need to be made. These can include the condition and prescription of your eyes, the desired results, and existing health conditions. For example, you might be wondering: Can I have Laser Eye Surgery treatment if I have Diabetes?
While the general answer to this question may be ‘yes’, suitability should be determined on a case-by-case basis. Whether or not a patient is suitable can depend on their individual circumstances, as well as the Laser Eye Surgery Clinic they go to.
Each clinic will have its own set of guidelines regarding who should be considered suitable for surgery. These guidelines generally come down to two key factors: the technology available and the expertise of its surgeons.
Diabetes and Laser Eye Surgery
The presence of Diabetes can often lead to added complications when it comes to vision and vision correction. In some cases, patients may be turned away – particularly if the clinic in question is lacking in the latest technology or expertise.
However, expert laser eye surgeons with access to the latest technology are often able to effectively treat patients with Diabetes with Laser Eye Surgery, with excellent outcomes.
If you have Diabetes and are interested in Laser Eye Surgery, your first port of call should be the Opticians. Here, you will be able to have checks carried out to determine whether you have diabetic retinopathy. The most common cause of vision loss among diabetics, retinopathy affects blood vessels in the retina and is more prevalent among those with Type 1 Diabetes.
This retinopathy test will allow us to ascertain whether treatment is needed to first correct the retina with a separate laser procedure. This procedure involves treating damage to the back of the eye. In contrast, Laser Eye Surgery is used to reshape the cornea, adjusting how light is bounced into the front of the eye.
It is important to note that laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy is not guaranteed to correct your glasses prescription. However, it also does not mean that you will be ineligible for Laser Eye Surgery.
Can I have Laser Eye Surgery if I have uncontrolled Diabetes?
Your suitability for Laser Eye Surgery if you have diabetes largely depends upon whether your condition is controlled. As Dr Glenn Carp explains in the video below, diabetes can cause fluctuations in your prescription.
That’s why we prefer to wait until you have worked with your GP to successfully get your diabetes under control. This allows us to create a much more accurate personalised treatment plan to help ensure the best possible outcomes from Laser Eye Surgery.
To sum up: Patients with uncontrolled diabetes are not suitable for Laser Eye Surgery.
Can I have Laser Eye Surgery if I have insulin-dependent Diabetes?
If you have insulin-dependent diabetes, there is still a good chance that you could be suitable for Laser Eye Surgery. We work closely with your GP to ascertain up-to-date blood levels which can indicate if your blood sugar levels are stable.
Dr Glenn Carp explains more in the video below:
If you have controlled diabetes and are interested in Laser Eye Surgery, we also take into account any potential complications related to your condition.
Potential Complications of Laser Eye Surgery in Patients with Diabetes
In addition to retinopathy, there are a few other complications that may be associated with Diabetes. In some cases, these complications may affect your suitability for Laser Eye Surgery. Let’s take a look at what they are and the best practices for managing them.
Unstable Blood Sugar Levels:
Most Laser Eye Surgery clinics will require a letter from your GP confirming that your blood sugar levels are stable enough for surgery. This helps surgeons to ensure that your refractive errors are accurate, therefore allowing them to deliver the best outcomes.
Slower Healing Rate:
The cornea is one of the fastest-healing organs in our bodies. However, these healing powers may be diminished in patients with diabetes. This is because high levels of blood sugar can, over time, impact nerves and blood circulation, affecting healing processes. To address this concern, your surgeon may suggest a less invasive laser treatment with faster healing times, such as ReLEx SMILE.
Changing or fluctuating prescriptions can be another effect of unstable blood sugar levels. This can affect the success of your Laser Eye Surgery. For example, if your blood sugar levels are high on the day of your initial assessment, the treatment plan drawn up by your surgeon will not be effective once they return to normal levels.
Pre-existing Diabetic Retinopathy:
As we stated earlier, retinopathy can be improved using a separate laser procedure. However, if retinopathy affects your vision, Laser Eye Surgery will not repair this issue, but it can treat your eyes according to your glasses prescription.
Individuals with Diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing glaucoma. Learn more about glaucoma and Laser Eye Surgery.
To date, thousands of patients with Diabetes have benefitted from Laser Eye Surgery. However, it is crucial that these factors are taken into account before you are cleared for surgery.