Jul 14, 2024

Lasik Eye Surgery

Getting the Clear Picture on Lasik Eye Surgery

Tired of wearing glasses or contact lenses? Considering Lasik eye surgery? Lasik, one of the newest procedures for vision correction, is surgery to a very delicate part of the eye. And while hundreds of thousands of people have had Lasik, most very successfully, it's not for everyone.

The Federal Trade Commission and the American Academy of Ophthalmology advise you to get the clear picture on what you can expect before you sign up for the procedure.

Are you a good candidate for Lasik? Before you can weigh the risks and rewards, know that:

  • You should be at least 18 years old and in good health.
  • You should not be pregnant or nursing.
  • You should not be taking certain prescription drugs, such as Accutane or oral prednisone.
  • Your eyes must be healthy and your prescription stable.

Even if you have the surgery, you may not get the perfect vision you're hoping for. That's because 20/20 does not always mean perfect vision. And if you have Lasik to correct your distance vision, you'll still need reading glasses when you're around age 45. You also may need to return for additional surgery, called "enhancements," to fine-tune your vision. Remember that Lasik is too new to know if there are any long-term ill effects beyond five years after surgery and the procedure cannot be reversed.

Are You a Good Candidate for Lasik?

Lasik is not for everyone.

  • You should be at least 18 years old (21 for some lasers), since the vision of people younger than 18 usually continues to change.
  • You should not be pregnant or nursing as these conditions might change the measured refraction of the eye.
  • You should not be taking certain prescription drugs, such as Accutane or oral prednisone.
  • Your eyes must be healthy and your prescription stable. If you're myopic, you should postpone Lasik until your refraction has stabilized, as myopia may continue to increase in some patients until their mid- to late 20s.
  • You should be in good general health. Lasik may not be recommended for patients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, herpes infections of the eye, or cataracts. You should discuss this with your surgeon.
  • Weigh the risks and rewards. If you're happy wearing contacts or glasses, you may want to forego the surgery.
  • Understand your expectations from the surgery. Are they realistic?
  • Ask your doctor if you're a candidate for monovision — correcting one eye for distance vision and the other eye for near vision. Lasik cannot correct presbyopia so that one eye can see at both distance and near. However, Lasik can be used to correct one eye for distance and the other for near. If you can adjust to this correction, it may eliminate or reduce your need for reading glasses. In some instances, surgery on only one eye is required. If your doctor thinks you're a candidate, ask about the pros and cons.


If you decide to proceed, ask your surgeon the following questions:

  • How long have you been doing Lasik surgery?
  • How do you define success? What's your success rate? What is the chance for me to achieve 20/20?
  • What laser will you be using for my surgery? Make sure your surgeon is using a laser approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • What's involved in after-surgery care?
  • Who will handle after-surgery care? Who will be responsible?
  • What about risks and possible complications?
  • What about side-effects? How long will they last?

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