When Can I Get LASIK?

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Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, commonly known as LASIK, is a popular refractive surgery that has revolutionized the way people correct their vision. The procedure has an estimated success rate of 96%. If you’ve worn glasses or contacts for a time, you may be interested in learning more about LASIK and whether it’s a good option for you. If you live in Colorado, 20/20 Institute – Westminster can answer all of your questions about LASIK and consult you to determine if LASIK is right for you. 

The factors that influence when you can have LASIK, the requirements for eligibility, the required preparation, and what to anticipate from the surgery are all covered in this article.

Understanding LASIK Surgery

It’s crucial to understand LASIK clearly before getting into the intricacies of when you can have the operation. LASIK is a surgical procedure that tries to treat common vision issues such as astigmatism, hyperopia, and nearsightedness (myopia, hyperopia). The cornea, the transparent front section of the eye, is reshaped with a laser during the process so that light entering the eye is appropriately focused onto the retina. Without the use of glasses or contact lenses, this improves vision.

LASIK Eligibility Requirements

LASIK surgery is not appropriate for everyone. You may or may not be qualified for the surgery depending on several criteria. These elements consist of the following:

Prescription for Stable Vision

Your eyesight prescription needs to have remained steady for a particular amount of time before you may be evaluated for LASIK. You might not be eligible if your prescription changed significantly in the previous year. This stability guarantees an accurate and long-lasting surgical result.

Age Requirements

For those who are 18 years of age and older, the FDA has approved LASIK. However, between the ages of 20 and 40 is considered the best range for LASIK surgery. This is due to the fact that favorable outcomes are more likely during this time because the eyes’ prescription tends to settle.

General Eye Health

Your eligibility for LASIK is heavily influenced by your general eye health. You might not be eligible to have the surgery done if you have certain eye disorders such as severe dry eyes, glaucoma, cataracts, or corneal illnesses. Your eyes’ health and if LASIK is a good option will be determined by a complete eye exam by a qualified ophthalmologist.

Nursing and Pregnancy

Vision may briefly be affected by hormonal changes during pregnancy and lactation. Before thinking about LASIK, it is advised to wait until hormonal levels have stabilized following childbirth and nursing. This makes sure that the surgery’s results are precise and long-lasting.

Good Overall Health 

Your eligibility for LASIK is also influenced by your general health. You may not recover fully after surgery if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, immunodeficiency diseases, or autoimmune disorders. Your ophthalmologist will need to speak with you about your medical history in order to assess your safety for LASIK.

Getting Ready for LASIK

Once you’ve decided you’re a candidate for LASIK, it’s crucial to fully get ready for the operation. Several preparations must be taken in advance to ensure a successful experience:

Locating an Experienced LASIK Surgeon

The effectiveness of the LASIK treatment depends critically on selecting the proper surgeon. Gather information and advice from reliable sources. Choose surgeons with a history of successful operations who are board-certified and experienced.

Comprehensive Eye Examination

You must have a thorough eye examination before to having LASIK. This examination will evaluate your eye health, corneal thickness, pupil size, and other elements that affect the outcome of the procedure. This process guarantees that LASIK is customized to your specific need.

Stop Wearing Contact Lenses

Before your LASIK consultation and procedure, you must give up wearing contact lenses for a specific amount of time. Your cornea’s shape can change as a result of wearing contact lenses, which could compromise the surgical procedure’s precision. How long before surgery you should stop wearing contact lenses will be advised by your ophthalmologist.

Expectations Discussion

It is essential to be open and honest with your LASIK surgeon about your expectations. Even while LASIK can greatly enhance your vision, surgery cannot guarantee perfect vision without of the need for glasses or contact lenses. You can set reasonable expectations by being aware of the procedure’s limitations and potential consequences.

Planning for Recovery

Even while LASIK is noted for its rapid recovery, it’s still crucial to prepare for some downtime. After the surgery, you can have short-term discomfort, dryness, and light sensitivity. A speedy recovery can be achieved by taking a few days off of work and making arrangements for someone to drive you home following the surgery.

What to Expect During The LASIK Procedure

Any concerns you may have about the LASIK surgery might be eased by understanding it. An outline of what to anticipate during the procedure is given below:

Eye Drops With Anesthetic

To keep you comfortable and pain-free throughout the surgery, numbing eye drops are used prior to the treatment.

Corneal Flap Creation

Using a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser, the surgeon incises a tiny, hinged flap onto the corneal surface. The corneal tissue beneath is then made visible by gradually lifting this flap.

Corneal Restructuring

The surgeon precisely reshapes the corneal tissue in accordance with your unique prescription using an excimer laser. The laser precisely focuses light on the retina by removing minute quantities of tissue.

Corneal Flap Repositioning

The surgeon meticulously realigns the corneal flap after the cornea has been modified. Stitches are not required because the flap adheres to the underlying tissue naturally.

Recovery Following Procedure

You will be able to go home after a brief period of resting following the procedure. You’ll need a driver because you can have slightly hazy eyesight right after the surgery. The majority of patients see an improvement in their vision within the first 24 to 48 hours, with improvements continuing in the following weeks.

Post-Operative Care and Recuperation

The degree to which you adhere to the post-operative care guidelines will also affect how successfully your LASIK procedure goes.

Using Prescribed Eye Drops

A series of eye drops will be recommended by your surgeon to aid in the healing process and avoid infection. To promote optimum recuperation, it’s crucial to utilize these drops as directed.

Preventing Eye Stress

It’s best to avoid activities that could strain your eyes in the first few days after LASIK, such as prolonged reading or prolonged screen staring.

Attending Follow-up Appointments

It’s imperative to schedule many follow-up visits with your surgeon to keep track of how well you’re recuperating. The surgeon can monitor your eyes’ appropriate healing and expected improvement in vision during these follow-up visits.

Wearing Eye Protection

Wear protective eyewear for the first few weeks after LASIK, especially outside, to protect your eyes from wind, dust, and harsh sunlight.

Final Thoughts

Numerous people have had their lives completely changed by LASIK surgery since it has improved their vision and reduced their need for glasses and contact lenses. It’s critical to check your eligibility for LASIK and make the necessary preparations if you’re thinking about getting it. You can increase the likelihood of a positive LASIK experience by sticking to post-operative care instructions and following the advice of skilled doctors. 

Keep in mind that LASIK is a personalized process that calls for considerable thought and well-informed decision-making to attain the best results.

Image by Freepik

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I'm Alice and I live with a dizzying assortment of invisible disabilities, including ADHD and fibromyalgia. I write to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental and chronic illnesses of all kinds. 

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Dr. Wilson graduated from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, IL. Dr. Wilson specializes in providing culturally competent and trauma-informed care to patients with physical disabilities. In addition to her private practice, she works as a science communicator, teaching health literacy to middle school and high school students in her local school district. 

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