Am I a candidate for LASIK?
I’ve answered this question over 100,000 times. Conversely, people will tell me they were deemed a non-candidate by their eye doctor because their eyes weren’t stable. This is generally false for adults. Although your prescription may read slightly higher or lower on any given day, this does not constitute instability. Anyone we measure will have slight variations, which is why at SharpeVision we measure your glasses prescription in about six different ways during your free consultation. We measure many times with each device, and repeat those measurements on the day of your procedure to get the most accurate measurement possible. I hear many reasons to not do laser vision correction. Once our patient has had the procedure, they’ll say, “I wish I had done this years ago!” Why are you waiting? Book your appointment!
The short answer to the question “who is a good candidate for Lasik“ is to have an assessment by someone with decades of experience performing LASIK. LASIK is just one of the vision correction surgery procedures. The reason it is often termed “Vision correction surgery“ is that there are currently six excellent procedures to allow you to live your life without the burden of glasses or contact lenses.
The potential vision correction surgery options include: Lasik, PRK, implantable contact lens (ICL), refractive lens exchange (RLE), cataract surgery (IOL), SMILE (SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction). Corneal Cross Linking for corneal weakness is an additional technique that can augment a person’s candidacy for a vision correction procedure.
When someone asks, “Am I eligible for Lasik?” or “Who is a good candidate for Lasik?” I think they are saying that they would really like to be able to see clearly without the burden of glasses or contact lenses. The answer for almost everyone is: yes, you can live your life without the burden of glasses or contact lenses. Depending on multiple factors listed below, it’s just a question of which procedure is best for you.
When someone comes to SharpeVision inquiring about their candidacy for Lasik, we do a comprehensive free eye exam to assess not only whether they are a Lasik surgery candidate, but whether or not they are a candidate for any of the six procedure to allow them to enjoy clear uncorrected vision.
To determine who is a good candidate for Lasik, we consider many variables including: age, anatomy of the cornea and orbit, ocular health, visual needs, patient preferences, occupation, hobbies, general medical health, a patient’s understanding of the procedure, and other factors. In general, a good Lasik eye surgery candidate will be between the ages of 18 and 60, with a low to moderately high amount of nearsightedness and/or astigmatism, normal corneal anatomy, normal orbital anatomy, and excellent ocular health. This does not mean that you cannot have some other procedure.
Do I need cataract surgery? Am I a candidate for cataract removal surgery?
As we get older, we generally think more about performing a lens-based procedures such as refractive lens exchange or cataract surgery. Everyone will eventually develop a cataract if you live long enough (which is why I hope you’ll get a cataract-just not soon!) Cataracts in most people develop gradually over ten or more years. The definition of a cataract is clouding of the natural lens of our eye that affects the clarity of our vision. This is why there’s no single day where we say, “You now have a cataract.” The early symptoms most often consist of glare while driving or difficulty seeing people or faces when the light is behind them. The great thing about cataract surgery is that it can solve all your vision defects at the same time. Cataract surgery can eliminate the cloudiness of your vision, while also eliminating your nearsightedness, astigmatism, and reading glasses!
Am I a Candidate for Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)?
Refractive Lens Exchange, or RLE is the procedure in which we remove the lens of your eye to eliminate your nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism, need for reading glasses, and it eliminates the need for cataract surgery when you are much older. We perform RLE before the natural lens has clouded to the point where insurance will pay for your procedure. It can be a decade or more from the time you have early symptoms of cataract to when the symptoms are so bad that insurance will contribute to the overall cost. As insurance payments to physicians decline, the decision to undergo refractive lens exchange gets easier and easier. The artificial lens in your eye lasts the rest of your life. It’s a wonderful way to take care of multiple issues with one 10-minute painless surgery. At SharpeVision, we perform laser assisted RLE surgery with multifocal intraocular lenses. There are no longer any needles, blades, stitches, or pain. Down time after refractive lens exchange is essentially zero. You get back to your life the next day.
Am I a Candidate for an Implantable Contact Lens (ICL)?
As people get extremely high in prescription (above -8 or thereabouts) we think of the implantable contact lens (ICL) or SMILE procedure. An implantable contact lens is not new. It’s been FDA approved since 2005, and is an amazing procedure for the right candidate. It allows us to put artificial lenses inside your eyes in front of your natural lens to eliminate nearly any amount of nearsightedness and astigmatism. Not everyone is a candidate, but often people who have been deemed a non-candidate for LASIK are excellent candidates for the ICL. I love doing them. They can be a godsend for those with nearsightedness up to -15, with or without astigmatism. Those are some majorly thick glasses! There are a lot of advantages to the ICL that we will discuss at your free comprehensive exam if you’re a candidate.
Am I a candidate for PRK?
If you have had previous LASIK, have thinner than average corneas, have a vocational need such as certain branches of the military, have basement membrane dystrophy (which can be determined by your eye doctor and eye history), difficult orbital anatomy, or just it’s your preference based on your knowledge of the procedures and risk tolerance, then PRK may be a better option for you.
Your LASIK eligibility can only realistically be definitively determined by having a comprehensive eye exam in a reputable practice where they perform laser vision correction. At SharpeVision we have focused solely on vision correction procedures. I have personally performed over 80,000 procedures over 25 years. Probably 90% have been LASIK, 5% PRK, and the rest a mix of ICL, RLE and Cataract surgery. Because I have seen the evolution of the procedure firsthand, I can and have performed this procedure on my own mother and wife. I had LASIK myself in 1998 and have benefited enormously from the freedom from glasses for nearly all of my adult life.
Candidates for Lasik surgery and other vision correction procedures are generally people who love life, who have families, who travel, play sports, watch concerts, sporting events, children playing, see the beauty of the Grand Canyon. In short it’s anyone who wants to live their best life. Laser vision correction and other vision correction surgeries allow a freedom and clarity that you may not have experienced. Everyone knows someone who’s had the procedure and loves it. Now it’s time for you to enjoy this freedom!