What is the minimum prescription for Laser Eye Surgery?

Laser Eye Surgery has become increasingly accessible and popular in recent years; in fact, most people probably now know someone who has had it done. This popularity is largely thanks to continued innovation that has helped to make Laser Eye Surgery an option for more people than ever before.

The benefits of treatment are immense. Not only can Laser Eye Surgery improve your vision and reduce your dependency on visual aides, but it can also allow you to engage more freely in many activities that you might once have never imagined.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering whether Laser Eye Surgery could be a good option for you, too. Well to get an idea of whether or not you might be suitable for treatment, all you have to do is answer three simple questions:

  • Are you in good health?
  • Can you see well with your glasses?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then chances are you would be suitable for treatment. But, hang on – that doesn’t necessarily mean you are an ideal candidate.

While Laser Eye Surgery has advanced leaps and bounds in recent years – and continues to do so – treatment can still have its limitations. For example, your prescription may be too high to be treated using current methods. Surprisingly, you can also find that your prescription is too low.

Before we cover this in more detail, let’s go over some common reasons that a person may be unsuitable for Laser Eye Surgery.

Reasons you may be unsuitable for Laser Eye Surgery

It is a common misconception that anyone with less than a perfect prescription is the ideal candidate for Laser Eye Surgery. But the fact is, several factors play a role in determining whether or not you may be eligible for treatment.

These factors are determined on a patient-by-patient basis during a comprehensive consultation with an eye expert. At this consultation, you will be assessed for several things:

The stability of your prescription: Probably second in importance to your prescription is how stable it is. Typically clinics ask you have had a stable prescription for twelve months to two years before the procedure. As our prescription doesn’t tend to stabilise until we are older, many teenagers and young people are often unsuitable for treatment.

The thickness of your corneas: LASIK, the most common procedure, requires a cornea that isn’t too thin or misshapen to be performed safely. Having Laser Eye Surgery with thin corneas could compromise outcomes and possibly result in vision deterioration.

Your pupil size: If your pupils are unusually large, having LASIK could increase your risk of experiencing side effects such as glare and halo. To ensure this isn’t the case, it is essential that adequate pupilometry (measuring the size of your pupil in different lighting conditions) testing is performed.

Your age: Due to age-related eye changes, Laser Eye Surgery is not recommended for some people who can’t be guaranteed satisfactory long-term results. However, there are often other options, such as PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision or cataract surgery which may be better suited.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Fluctuations in hormone levels that occur when a person is pregnant or has recently given birth can trigger dry eye symptoms and also cause slight changes to your prescription. Medications used before and after Laser Eye Surgery treatment may also be harmful to your child. It is therefore advised to wait until several months after pregnancy and lactation to have the treatment.

Your overall eye health: As well as any underlying conditions you may have, your day-to-day eye health is also an important consideration when determining your suitability for Laser Eye Surgery. For instance, if you suffer from dry eye syndrome, glaucoma, or cataracts.

Several eye conditions can impact your suitability, including:

  • High eye pressure
  • Glaucoma
  • Very large pupils with high correction
  • Your prescription is low (under 0.75) and you do not have astigmatism
  • A squint or prism which is not corrected by contact lenses
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Keratoconus
  • Herpes of the eye
  • Iritis
  • Blindness in one eye or  partial sightedness

Your general health: As well as having good eye health, it’s also important to have good general health. For example, you may  not be suitable for Laser Eye Surgery if you suffer from:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis, SLE, Lupus
  • Macular degeneration
  • Crohn’s or collagen disease
  • Epilepsy, MS: Depending on the status of the condition
  • Uncontrolled Diabetes

If you fall into any of the categories listed above, you might now be concerned. But again, this doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t suitable for treatment. There is typically no hard and fast line to follow when determining someone’s suitability. The only way to know for sure is to have a proper consultation with a professional eye expert.

Does my prescription fall within the treatable range?

With the health bases covered, you can now discover if your prescription falls within the treatable range.

To qualify for LASIK, your prescription can be up to:

  • -10 diopters of near-sightedness
  • +6 diopters of far-sightedness
  • 6 diopters of astigmatism

However, if your prescription goes beyond those levels, then you may still qualify for Laser Eye Surgery or may be recommended an alternative vision correction option such as implantable contact lenses.

What if your prescription is not suitable for Laser Eye Surgery?

As mentioned earlier, when performing Laser Eye Surgery, it is essential to ensure that the corneas are thick enough to allow “high profile treatments”. Unfortunately, as the prescription becomes very high, most people simply don’t have thick enough corneas to allow the necessary reshaping. As a result, these patients are not suitable for traditional LASIK treatment.

Luckily though, LASIK is only one of four treatment options available. Here at London Vision Clinic, we are able to also offer the revolutionary ReLEx SMILE treatment.

Thanks to its minimally invasive nature, SMILE can treat people with prescriptions of higher than -10 as well as those who have thin corneas.

In other words, even though you may appear unsuitable for one treatment according to one clinic, there are often other options to consider before ruling out Laser Eye Surgery for good.

Find out if you are a good candidate for Laser Eye Surgery by contacting one of our friendly clinic coordinators. Alternatively, Book a Consultation today. 

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