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.
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.
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):