FAQs about LASIK — Correcting Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, and Astigmatism
What is the ideal age for LASIK?
LASIK can be performed as soon as age 18, but it is preferred to wait until age 21 and the eyeglass prescription must be stable, ideally for two years.
There is no maximum age for LASIK, but patients over 60 often will have cataract formation, and when vision is affecting activities of daily life, cataract surgery is performed, often with an advanced technology, multifocal lens implant. LASIK can be used to fine tune the implant results for optimum visual results.
What are contraindications for LASIK?
Any known damage or disease process is likely to be a concern, and at least a relative contraindication to LASIK. Patients who carefully share their medical history create the groundwork for best surgeon/patient relationship, and ultimately the best visual outcome for the individual. Here are a few of these concerns:
- Autoimmune diseases can cause corneal problems and healing problems and are an absolute contraindication for the procedure.
- Pregnancy and nursing can cause changes in the vision prescription, so it is best to wait at least 3 months after weaning before having measurements for LASIK.
- Ocular herpes is a contraindication to LASIK, but some surgeons may feel it is permissible as long as there has been no activity for over one year, and no corneal scarring is present.
- Severe dry eye is a relative contraindication to LASIK, but mild cases can often be treated successfully prior to LASIK.
What are the risks of LASIK?
The most feared complication is infection. Antibiotic eye drops are prescribed to help minimize the risk, which has been quoted at about 1/1000. It is best to avoid swimming, hot tubs and eye makeup for a week after surgery to help prevent problems.
How long does one need to be out of contact lenses before measurements for LASIK can be done?
The general rule is 2 weeks for soft lenses; and 3 weeks for rigid (Gas Permeable) contacts, plus one week for each decade of wear (for example, out of gas permeable contacts for 7 weeks if you have been wearing them for 40 years.)
What prescription can LASIK treat?
Myopia, up to 11.0 diopters of correction, with or without astigmatism up to -3 diopters (Contrast vision is diminished after treatment of about 10 diopters, and so phakic intraocular lenses such as Verisyse or Visian lenses may be preferred).
Hyperopia, up to 3 diopters of correction with or without astigmatism up to +2 Diopters.
Mixed astigmatism, up to 5 diopters. In mixed astigmatism, the unequal curvature of the cornea (and sometimes also the lens inside the eye) results in one meridian of the eye to be farsighted and a second meridian (perpendicular to the first) to be nearsighted. Mixed astigmatism usually can be successfully treated with LASIK but results might be less predictable than surgical correction of simple nearsighted astigmatism.
Will I still need to wear glasses?
I like to say, “Nothing is as good as original equipment from the manufacturer when you are a teenager!” Of course, after age 40 everyone is expected to need reading glasses or bifocals. Some people may need night driving glasses, especially if nearsightedness (myopia) is intentionally under-corrected in older patients to preserve some reading vision without glasses.
What else should I know about LASIK?
There are several ways to approach your quest for better vision and vision without depending on glasses or contact lenses. We are happy to answer general questions and welcome them here through your comments.
However, questions that are related to your particular health and potential for successful surgery can best be answered through a complimentary evaluation appointment. At our clinic, you will receive a comprehensive dilated exam with extensive measurements and education. Your questions can be addressed in real time when you doctor sees your health’s big picture. At the end of two hours, you will be equipped to proceed with knowledge and confidence. When we can help you further, please make an appointment through our website, 20better.com, or here.