What Prescription can Laser Eye Surgery Correct?
Are you considering the possibility of Laser Eye surgery? If the answer is ‘yes’, then it’s likely you have a whole lot of questions of your own; and the chances are, the question at the top of your list is: Would it work for my prescription?.
The main aim of a trip to the opticians is to determine whether or not you need glasses. However, there is a lot more to this question than may first meet the eye no pun intended).
For example, you might also learn more about why you need to wear glasses. The most common reasons are short-sightedness, long-sightedness, astigmatism – or maybe a mixture of all three! The details of your prescription will be explained to you in a little more detail and written on your prescription card.
It can be easy to assume that receiving your first prescription card will mean that you are destined for a lifetime of glasses or contact lenses. But that is definitely not the case. If you are interested in Laser Eye Surgery, then you will probably be looking to learn a little more about whether you are suitable for treatment.
Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s learn more about what prescriptions can be corrected with Laser Eye Surgery!
Does your eyeglass prescription qualify you for Laser Eye Surgery?
your glasses prescription indicates how severe a “refractive error” you have. Refractive errors affect the way light is reflected into your retina, in turn affecting the quality of your vision. Long-sightedness, short-sightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia are all caused by different refractive errors.
The numbers that appear on your prescription card may appear to be pointless to the untrained eye, but they are actually a very important representation of your vision. These numbers are a measurement of diopters – a metric used to indicate the strength of your required lenses.
A positive number (such as +4.00) indicated long-sightedness, while a negative number (such as -2.00) indicates short-sightedness. Simple, right?
While having an accurately measured prescription is essential when undergoing Laser Eye Surgery, it doesn’t immediately make you eligible.
What Prescriptions are Eligible for Treatment?
Typically, Laser Eye Surgery has the potential to treat up to +6.00 diopters of far-sightedness, 6.00 diopters of astigmatism, and -12.00 diopters of near-sightedness. However, these figures should be taken with a pinch of salt. The exact number will vary from person to person depending on several factors.
For example, the treatment type, your eye health, the technology available at your chosen clinic, and the expertise of the surgeon will all influence the final decision.
Laser Eye Surgery has been one of the fastest evolving surgical sectors over the last few years. This constant stream of innovation means that today’s treatment options can be effective for much higher prescriptions than once thought possible.
The downside to this is that the market can be somewhat confusing. It is possible to be told that you are ineligible for treatment at one clinic and then find that you can have treatment at another.
So, before we look into this phenomenon in a little more detail, let’s take a deep dive into the factors that – in addition to your prescription – can affect your eligibility. for Laser Eye Surgery.
A stable prescription and good eye health
The first requirement when determining whether you are suitable for Laser Eye Surgery is that you have a stable prescription. The general requirement is that your glasses prescription hasn’t undergone any significant changes for at least two years.
This is what is behind the minimum age limit for Laser Eye Surgery. As we are developing, our prescription can continue to change and fluctuate. While LASIK treatment is often approved for those aged 18 and over, it is generally recommended that you wait until you reach at least the age of 21 before undergoing treatment. As with many things to do with Laser Eye Surgery, there are, of course, exceptions to this rule.
Once you reach “ocular maturity” – at whatever age that may be – your prescription will generally stabilise. There are, however, several factors that can temporarily affect your prescription. For example, having diabetes or being pregnant or breastfeeding can cause fluctuations in your prescription. In most cases, though, you will only be required to postpone rather than terminate your treatment.
The quality of your vision
When attending your initial consultation to determine your eligibility for Laser Eye Surgery, your ophthalmologist/specialist optometrist will carry out a number of tests to assess the general quality of your vision. You will be given all the information you need regarding your prescription and factors that may affect your suitability.
Some symptoms that affect your vision that may influence your suitability include:
- Light distortion: Experiencing light distortions such as glare, haloes, starbursts, or ghosting/blurriness around light sources can be relatively common; however, in some cases, they may be symptoms of an underlying condition which may affect your suitability for treatment – at least temporarily. It’s important to note, however, that visual disturbances such as those listed are a common side effect during the healing process following Laser Eye Surgery.
- Dry eye: Dry eye is a common eye condition that affects the majority of people at some time in their lives. It can be exacerbated by the excessive use of screens and prolonged exposure to dry environments. There are many people currently living with dry eye syndrome without even knowing it. In more severe cases of Dry eye syndrome, your eligibility for Laser Eye Surgery may be affected.
The shape and thickness of your corneas
Another factor that may affect your suitability for Laser Eye Surgery is the shape and thickness of your cornea. The cornea is the transparent part of the eye that covers the iris and the pupil. It is through this tissue that Laser Eye Surgery is performed to reshape the corneal bed.
As some Laser Eye Surgery treatments require creating a small flap in the cornea (or removing a section altogether), the cornea needs to be thick enough to accommodate the removal of tissue. The reshaping of the cornea allows light to bounce into the retina in a more effective way to improve vision. If the cornea is too thin or misshapen, it may not be able possible to reshape and achieve the results you want.
The size of your pupils
It might sound surprising, but the size of your pupils can significantly affect whether or not you will be eligible for Laser Eye Surgery. Such obscure considerations are the reason that your initial consultation and assessment are such an important part of the process.
Having larger pupils can put you at higher risk of side effects such as poor night vision or blurry vision following treatment. This means that some people with large pupils may not be suitable for Laser Eye Surgery. In many cases, however, the right tests and proper assessments can be enough to effectively tailor your treatment and provide effective results.
Very high prescriptions
As we mentioned earlier, Laser Eye Surgery has evolved significantly over the years. When treatment was first introduced – specifically LASIK treatment – it simply wasn’t an option for those with very high prescriptions.
Thanks to recent advancements, however, more people than ever are now eligible for Laser Eye Surgery. In fact, many people who have been told in the past that they are not suitable for treatment can now achieve amazing results.
The bottom line is that suitability has to be determined on a case-by-case basis. While this article may act as a rough guide, the only way to be sure is to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable consultant or surgeon.