This blog entry is the 2nd part of our LASIK Surgery Blogs. Read our first blog to learn about LASIK Frequently Asked Questions. In this second part, we will cover if LASIK is right for you, what to expect with the surgery, and more.
Since being approved by the FDA in 1998, LASIK eye surgery has helped people reduce or eliminate their need for glasses and contact lenses, with more than 95% of patients reporting their satisfaction with their vision after the procedure.
However, only some people qualify. A good candidate for LASIK must meet specific physical, medical, and surgical requirements.
This guide provides you with the necessary answers about the requirements to be a good candidate for LASIK. And it details in-depth what you need to know before, during, and after your LASIK eye surgery.
Are you a good candidate for LASIK?
The best way to determine if you’re a good candidate for LASIK is to talk with a professional like a Newsom Eye provider.
Qualifying for the procedure relies on more factors than your prescription. The basic requirements for LASIK involve your medical history, the overall health of your eyes, and whether a refractive error is causing your poor vision.
Why is LASIK done?
LASIK corrects a refractive error in your vision. It uses a precise cutting laser to change and correct the shape of your cornea.
Your cornea is a clear, dome-shaped tissue located in the front of your eyes that refracts the light onto your retina. The retina transforms light into signals to your brain, which creates images. However, refractive errors cause the light to bend improperly onto the retina resulting in blurry vision.
The basic types of refractive errors include
- Nearsightedness (Myopia): While objects close to you are clear, everything farther away becomes blurry.
- Farsightedness (Hyperopia): Closer items are blurry, but farther objects are clear.
- Astigmatism: Near and far can be blurry.
Requirements to be a Good Candidate for LASIK
Newsom Eye offers free LASIK screenings to help you find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK.
To qualify for LASIK eye surgery, you must meet these basic requirements:
- You are 18 years old or older. Ideally, the best candidates are over 21 years of age.
- Your eye prescription hasn’t changed much in a year. It’s best to have the procedure done when your vision has stopped changing.
- With the assistance of glasses or contacts, you have at least 20/40 vision.
- You have overall healthy eyes with thick corneas.
- Your refractive error qualifies as one that can be corrected with LASIK.
- You have no health conflicts, such as weakened immune systems or pregnancy. And you are not taking specific prescriptions related to these health issues.
Who is not a good candidate for LASIK?
Unfortunately, certain factors may eliminate you as a good candidate for LASIK. However, the Newsom Eye team can still help you discover alternative solutions to improve your vision and possibly reduce how much you depend on glasses or contacts to see clearly.
You may be declined for this surgical procedure if:
- You are younger than 18 years of age.
- You are over 40 years old and experiencing presbyopia which is a naturally occurring inability to see close objects up close.
- Your eye prescription is too high or, conversely, too good.
- You have thin or scarred corneas.
- You have certain eye conditions, including glaucoma, corneal ulcers, keratoconus, optic nerve diseases, or macular degeneration.
- You are currently pregnant or nursing.
- You take medications that will conflict with this surgical procedure.
- You have been diagnosed with certain health conditions such as diabetes, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis.
- You participate in high-contact sports that may produce blows to your face.
What is the process of LASIK eye surgery?
Before committing to and scheduling surgery, an examination and consultation are necessary to determine if you’re a good candidate and to address your individual needs.
During your appointment, Newsom Eye will evaluate your overall medical history, including your family history and current prescriptions, supplements, and over-the-counter medications.
You may undergo specific LASIK testing to determine your overall eye health, which may involve:
- Measuring your pupil size
- Taking measurements of your cornea’s surface and thickness
- Testing for dry eye
- Determining the degree of your refractive error
- Testing whether your eye prescription has remained steady or recently changed
- Checking the overall health of your eyes
This consultation is the best time to ask questions, state your concerns, and establish realistic goals for the results of your surgery. LASIK does improve your vision, but there are some instances when you may still need the assistance of glasses.
Also, make sure you prepare for the expense of the surgery and look into how much your insurance will cover. Since LASIK is an elective surgery, you may be fully responsible for the entire cost of the procedure.
Before LASIK Eye Surgery: How to Prepare
Once you decide that LASIK surgery is right for you and you have made a surgical appointment, you need to ensure you’re ready before the day of the procedure.
First, if you regularly wear contact lenses, you will need to stop wearing them at least three days before surgery for soft lenses and up to three to four weeks earlier for hard lenses.
Next, arrange for a ride home after the procedure. You will not be safe to drive due to blurry vision and any lingering side effects from the medication.
Finally, make sure you remove all makeup, lotions, creams, and perfumes before arriving for the surgery. You don’t want any debris to interfere with the procedure. Also, do not wear any hair accessories or bulky clothing that may interfere with proper head placement.
During LASIK Eye Surgery: What Happens?
How long does LASIK eye surgery take?
LASIK eye surgery takes about ten minutes per eye for a total of twenty to thirty minutes to complete.
Is LASIK eye surgery painful?
No, LASIK eye surgery is not painful. You lie on your back for the surgery and can receive medication to help you relax. Also, you will be given numbing drops directly into your eyes. You may still feel pressure, but you should not feel any amount of pain.
Are you awake during LASIK surgery?
Yes, you are awake during surgery. However, you don’t have to worry about blinking during surgery. A gentle instrument holds your eyelids open.
5 Steps of LASIK eye surgery
- After lying flat on your back, you may receive medicine to help you relax, and your surgeon will numb your eyes with specialized drops.
- Your surgeon then uses a speculum. This device places an eyelid holder and a suction ring on your eye to prevent blinking and keep your eye from moving. Your vision may dim or go black as a result.
- Using a laser, your surgeon creates a corneal flap. This flap, as thin as a piece of paper, is lifted and folded back.
- You will be instructed to stare at a target light shining into your eye. With your eye fixed on the light, the surgeon administers the second laser in pulses to reshape your cornea. You may hear clicking sounds.
- The final step involves folding the tissue down and positioning it back into place where it will rapidly heal.
After LASIK Eye Surgery: What to Expect
After LASIK eye surgery, you should expect to see your vision improve quickly. You’re now well on your way to reducing your dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
However, healing may take several weeks. Be prepared to feel some side effects from the surgery.
How long does it take to recover from Lasik eye surgery?
Some patients start seeing improvement in their vision immediately following surgery. Generally, it may take up to six to 12 hours to recover from LASIK eye surgery. Most patients report being able to see clearly after 24 hours and will be able to drive the following day after surgery.
What are the side effects of LASIK?
The side effects after LASIK Eye Surgery are generally light and tend to lessen after a few days.
Initially, many patients report blurry vision for the entire day after surgery. Also, it’s common to feel discomfort and irritation, such as dryness, itching, burning, and watering. Your ophthalmologist may give you drops or antibiotics to help ease these symptoms.
Other side effects include light sensitivity, glare, seeing halos, and difficulty driving at night. These side effects are rare and often improve once your eyes have healed.
Does LASIK last forever?
Most patients report that the positive effects from their LASIK surgery do last forever. However, the benefits can decrease over time, and some people may require enhancement surgery after ten years.
Ready for LASIK? Trust the Professionals at Newsom Eye
Are you ready to leave the hassle of glasses and contact lenses behind? The Newsom Eye state-of-the-art LASIK surgery centers offer the safest and latest technology, the fastest healing procedures, and individualized treatments from Board Certified Ophthalmologists with over twenty years of experience. Schedule a consultation today. You deserve NEWSOM EYES!