Am I suitable for laser eye surgery?
Suitability is the most important step in the whole laser eye treatment and vision correction process.
Successful laser eye surgery is about selecting and screening for the right candidates. With well chosen eligible patients and an expert surgeon, both results and safety are extremely good. This is why we are very selective about who we treat, and take a quality over quantity approach to vision correction.
making sure patients are highly suitable for laser surgery has allowed Focus to achieve a 100% 20/20 success rate for all common short-sighted prescriptions
The consultation process is setup to find any reason why you may not be eligible for treatment.
There are a number of common reasons and eye conditions that can mean you are not suitable for laser eye surgery. If this is the case, alternative lens-based procedures, such as refractive lens exchange (RLE) or an implantable collamer lens (ICL) may still be an option for you.
We can quickly learn if you are broadly suitable for vision correction with a simple 10-minute telephone call. If there are no clear reasons why you may not be a good candidate for eye surgery, the next step would be an in-depth consultation with one of our expert clinicians.
Who is suitable for LASIK surgery?
If you have healthy eyes and have short-sight with or without some degree of astigmatism it is likely you are a good candidate for LASIK or PRK eye surgery. At Focus Clinic we can treat most myopic prescription up to -10.oo dioptres, and sometimes even higher depending on your corneal thickness. The WaveLight laser used at our clinic removes less tissue per dioptre than some other lasers, allowing to often treat even very high levels of short-sight.
Mild to moderate amounts of long-sightedness (hyperopia) can usually be corrected.
How old should you be?
Most laser eye surgery patients are aged between 20 and 65. The minimum age is 18 years old; if you started wearing glasses when you were very young, your prescription may be stable at 18 and so you may be suitable for treatment. More commonly, short-sighted prescriptions have not stabilised until the 20s. Once your prescription is stable, usually showing no change of 12 months, then you can consider surgery for a long-lasting result.
At the higher end, there is no age limit for laser treatment as long as there is no eye disease or problem. Some patients who are 60+ may be better helped by a lens-based procedure, such as refractive lens exchange, depending on the severity of the prescription and eye anatomy. Our surgeons can advise you on your options.
Possible contra-indications to LASIK
Extreme prescriptions may be outside the range treatable by the excimer laser. At Focus Clinic we are able to correct 98% of all short-sighted prescriptions, also including patients with astigmatism, if otherwise suitable for surgery.
Night vision problems
Symptoms such as glare, halos and star-bursting of light can occur after LASIK and PRK. However, the incidence of such issues is more from the size of the prescription, than from pupil size in the dark (as was previously thought). This means that very short-sighted people having treatment have a greater chance of night vision problems than those mild to moderate short-sight. Patients most at risk are those with very high prescriptions (e.g. -7.00 to -8.00 dioptres or higher) and large pupils (e.g. 8mm or bigger). These patients need to be counselled on the risk on night vision symptoms.
This is the most commonly seen side-effect from laser eye procedures. However, it is an avoidable complication for most patients and down to selecting the right people to have surgery, as well as pre-treating to improve any pre-existing dry eye. We may spend several months on the latter, preparing the patient for their LASIK or PRK.
at Focus Clinic we see less than 0.5% of patients for dryness in the eyes by 12 months after their procedure, and 0% by 2 years that is attributable to treatment
The majority of dry eye comes from excess evaporation of the tears and pre-operative remedies can help restore normal eye lubrication.
Stability of the prescription
The prescription should be stable for 12 to 24 months before undergoing laser eye treatment.
Previous eye conditions
Factors that will be considered include cataracts or early lens opacities, glaucoma, previous herpes infections in the eye, diabetic eye disease, and previous eye surgery.
Keratoconus occurs in around 1 in 2000 people in the UK and leads to corneal thinning and steepening. Such patients are not suitable for standard laser eye surgery. Treatments are available to prevent this condition worsening using a relatively new approach called collagen cross linking.
Some clinics are using cross-linking for all LASIK procedures, commonly called LASIK Extra. This is not necessary or even recommended and not offered at Focus Clinic.
Some problems of the immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus and other collagen vascular diseases, can prevent you from having laser eye surgery.
If we find a cause for why LASIK surgery or another refractive procedure is not right for you, we will advise you at your consultation.