Do I qualify for LASIK?

That time has come around yet again. You need to get a shiny new pair of glasses.

The trends change, you see a pair you just have to have, or, if you’re anything like the typical glasses wearer, you’ve scratched, snapped, or lost your current ones so you need a new pair ASAP.

Naturally, as you go through all the hassle and add up the extra costs, it can get you thinking about what other options are available to you.

Of course, there’s always the option of ditching the specs and going full-on with the contacts. They are, after all, much more convenient and flexible than glasses. But the fact is they are not meant to be a permanent solution and can lead to even worse problems when worn too long or too often.

Then there’s the third option. The one that colleague from work or that relative had a few years back and won’t stop raving about every time they see you and you are still wearing your old-school frames.

Last time you looked into it though you are pretty sure you weren’t eligible — at least at the clinics where you enquired.

But there have been a lot of advancements in Laser Eye Surgery over the years.

This means in 2019, many people who were told they’re not suitable for LASIK by one clinic can be surprised when they go to another and learn they are actually a good candidate.

It’s always good to check in and see what your options are. The best way to find out if you’re a suitable candidate for LASIK is to have a thorough evaluation by a board-certified ophthalmologist who specializes in corneal laser refractive surgery. They will tell you for sure if your prescription is treatable. However, your prescription is just one factor in qualifying for LASIK — there are also several other criteria you need to meet in order to get the green light.

Here we’re going to take a look at the five main factors, including your prescription, that are key to qualifying as a candidate for LASIK.

Is your prescription within the treatable range?

First things first. Your glasses prescription is one of the best indicators of your suitability for LASIK. That being said, not all clinics treat the same range of prescriptions. For instance, some specialise in treating very high prescriptions. 

Your prescription, or your “refractive error” is measured in diopters. A diopter is a metric unit used to indicate the strength of lens that is needed to correct your vision. The numbers on your little glasses prescription card are in diopters (with minus for near-sighted and plus for far-sighted).

Typically, expert surgeons using the most modern lasers and screening tools can treat up to +6.00 far-sightedness or hyperopia, up to -12.00 near-sightedness, and up to 6 diopters of astigmatism.

As mentioned, these exact numbers depend on the clinic, including its technology and expertise, as well as the type of treatment.

Do you have a stable prescription and healthy eyes?

Having a stable prescription means the numbers on your little card haven’t changed significantly for at least two consecutive years. This is one reason why, although LASIK is approved for people aged 18 and older, it is typically suggested to wait to have it until you are in your early to mid-twenties.

At this age of “ocular maturity”, your prescription is much more likely to be stable. But age is far from the only factor in having a stable prescription. Other factors that may influence your prescription include your overall general health, pregnancy, and certain medications. Thankfully, most these are temporary and don’t rule you out from having treatment in the future.

What are the shape and thickness of your corneas?

Unlike glasses and contact lenses, LASIK is a permanent vision correction method that works by reshaping the cornea.

The cornea is the transparent dome-like surface of the eye that helps focus light to create an image on the retina.

If your cornea is too thin or misshapen, it may cause problems with the vision. Unlike your prescription, it’s pretty tricky to find out if this might be a problem for you at your local opticians. It is during an initial LASIK evaluation at the Laser Eye Surgery Clinic that the thickness and shape of the cornea are safe to move forward with treatment.

What is your pupil size?

Measuring your pupil size is an important part of the LASIK consultation. If your pupils are naturally large, for instance, you could be at increased risk of experiencing side effects following LASIK surgery such glare or halo at night.

If you’ve just run to the mirror to check and have noticed yours are very large, you don’t have to write the treatment off just yet. Not everyone who has large pupils is automatically excluded from having LASIK, particularly at clinics with the latest technology.

Find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK by getting in touch with our highly-skilled staff or booking your initial consultation today.