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Laser Eye Surgery: Are You A Suitable Candidate?


The most frequently asked question by people who are considering laser eye surgery is “am I suitable?” There are many reasons why laser eye surgery may not be suitable for you but for the vast majority it is perfectly suitable. In fact, over 95% of people who wear contact lenses or glasses are in fact suitable for treatment. Many feel that age is a barrier to undergoing the treatment, or feel that their eyesight is so bad without glasses that they won’t experience any improvement. This however is not the case and a thorough eye examination will be able to confirm your suitability.

Many of the reasons people wish to have laser eye surgery is to free themselves of the hassle of contact lenses and glasses, to save money on glasses or contact lenses, or to simply not worry about their vision with sports and activities.

Even where laser eye surgery isn’t a good fit, your optician or ophthalmologist will recommend alternate treatments – of which there are plenty – including Intraocular Lens Treatment (IOL).

If you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant you should wait at least three months from the birth date or when you stop breast feeding to consider laser eye surgery. This is associated with hormonal changes during pregnancy which is not compatible with the procedure. Corneal pressure due to fluid retention can affect the vision of a woman who is pregnant, as can dry eyes. Also, antibiotics and steroid drops are sometimes applied to the eye prior to surgery, which is not recommended for those carrying a baby.

The minimum age limit for those who want to undergo laser eye surgery is 18. This is due to strict guidelines stipulated by the International Medical Advisory Board (IMAB). There is no upper age limit associated with laser eye surgery.

In order for laser eye surgery to have the desired effect, you must have a stable prescription. This can range in time length, but must be consistent over the past 6-12 months. This is to ensure that your vision levels are not fluctuating wildly and so get diagnosed the wrong treatment. An optician will be able to confirm your suitability at an eye test.

If your cornea is too thin then laser eye surgery may not be a good option for you. Because laser eye surgery is a procedure based on re-shaping of the corneal layer, a thin cornea may result in complications. This may vary from clinic to clinic, based on diagnostics. In some cases a second opinion may be necessary. Like all laser eye procedures, if you are considered unsuitable for laser treatment there are plenty of alternatives. Your optician will be able to evaluate your needs at an in-depth consultation.

As mentioned earlier, the vast majority of patients are suitable for laser eye surgery. However, every year around a fifth of people who go for a laser eye consultation are found not suitable for the procedure. This corresponds with the strict suitability guidelines set out by the IMAB. Alternative treatments are available for these patients, as are a full range of advanced contact lenses and premium glasses.

Put simply, only unless the surgeon is certain of laser eye success will they carry out the treatment. Every patient’s eyes are different and every patient is thoroughly tested to provide a service tailored to their specific needs. An experienced optician knows whether you are a candidate for the procedure and if they feel that a patient does not fall under this strict criterion they will not go ahead with the surgery.

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