Am I Suitable for Laser Eye Surgery?

Mobile – OE V2

  • Compare Laser Eye Surgery Clinics Near You

Tablet – OE V2

  • Compare Laser Eye Surgery Clinics Near You

Am I Eligible For Laser Eye Surgery? 

More people than ever are suitable to have laser eye surgery but there are still some restrictions on who can have refractive surgery. Below we’ve put together a guide to the criteria normally used by clinics to select who is eligible for vision correction surgery:

You are suitable if:

You are not suitable if:

The vast majority of individuals asking themselves “am I eligible for laser eye surgery?” will be glad to hear that the answer is most probably a resounding ‘yes’ according to the Society of Opthamologists. 

Indeed most clinics in the UK quote an 85% to 95% acceptance rate. Soft contact lens wearers are normally eligible since their prescription is deemed more straight-forward than those with hard or gas permeable lenses.

Conditions That May Not Be Eligible For Laser Eye Surgery

Am I Suitable for Laser Eye Surgery? Those deemed not suitable for laser eye surgery usually have a particularly high prescription, a compromising medical condition, are taking certain medications or are under 21 years of age. The age restriction is in place because the patient’s eye prescription (less than 0.5D) must be stable for at least two years preceding the surgery and eyes continue to change until people reach 21.

In the case of medical conditions usually diabetes melitis would exclude a patient since the illness interferes with the blood vessels at the back of the eye. Certain immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, HIV and lupus are also contraindicated since these would compromise the body’s ability to restore health following surgery.

Eye conditions like keratoconus (thining corneas), cataracts and glaucoma also preclude many people from having laser eye surgery in the main (as does anyone with a recurrent eye infection). Those with dry eyes may also need to think twice since the surgery will make the eyes feel particularly dry after the first few days of treatment and this could prove painful.

Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding are advised to wait as hormones can interfere with an eye prescription. Similarly those with epilepsy are also advised against surgery since having a seizure during the operation could obviously cause huge problems.

And finally, another group of patients who are advised to think carefully about surgery are those whose jobs are dependent on their eyesight such as pilots, air traffic controllers, professional athletes etc since if the procedure went wrong in any way their future may be compromised.

Laser Eye Treatments Available For Those Eligible

Your prescription will determine what treatment you are eligible for. Here are some of the more common treatment types (more info on LASIK, LASEK and PRK eye surgery can be found here):

  • LASIK. Having now been around for more than two decades, LASIK is the most popular form of laser eye treatment today, mostly thanks to its quick recovery procedure (around two to three days) and minimal pain. The surgery involves using a microkeratome to make a cut in the cornea which results in a flap being produced. This is lifted and the cornea treated using an Excimer laser. The flap is then replaced. The surgery thins the cornea and makes it somewhat unstable and for this reason it isn’t recommended for eyesight which needs a lot of correction (i.e. with a high prescription).
  • EpiLASIK. This new technique involves the use of an epikeratome to create a thin flap of epithelium. The Excimer laser then goes underneath this flap which in turn attaches to the cornea via natural suction.
  • LASEK. With this treatment the surface of the cornea is cut and a flap formed. A special contact lens then covers the eye for up to four days to allow the eye to heal without interference from dust etc.
  • PRK. Now in its fourth decade, this technique has been surpassed by LASIK and LASEK in terms of popularity and tends to be used for eye sight which isn’t too poor. This has a longer healing period than the other two – up to several months in many cases. The eye may also be painful for up to two days following surgery. 
  • WAVEFRONT. Customised and computer-calculated surgery (ie via a wavefront analyser) is relatively new but it said to give surgeons more accuracy than before. It’s slightly more expensive because of this.