LASIK Surgery: The Screening Process and the Procedure

stylized female eye

If you are considering LASIK surgery, you are probably wondering if you are a good candidate. As you know, there is a screening process for the procedure and a doctor won’t perform the surgery if you don’t pass the screening process. Here are some general guidelines that can help you determine if you will be a good candidate for the procedure.

Are you old enough for LASIK surgery?

The reason that age is taken into account during the LASIK surgery screening process is it shouldn’t be done on individuals whose eyes haven’t fully matured. Just as the body continues to grow, so does the shape of the eye. If a youth has LASIK surgery and the shape of their eye changes, their vision will be affected. Some surgeons won’t perform the procedure on anyone under 25 years of age.

Is your prescription stable enough for LASIK Surgery?

Most doctors require that a patient has had no vision prescription changes for at least twelve months prior to surgery. Some require a longer time period than that. The reason behind this is basically the same as the reasons for the age requirement. Until a doctor is certain that your eye shape is stable, you won’t be approved for LASIK surgery.

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Medical history for LASIK surgery

Your medical history will be a big determining factor as to whether or not you will be approved for LASIK surgery. Things that are taken into considering include whether you have diabetes, are pregnant, breastfeeding, the types of medications you may take on a regular basis, if you have a condition that would impair healing, and more. Other things that will be taken into considering include whether you have thin corneas, if you have large pupils, whether you have had an eye injury or eye scarring, if your eyes are habitually dry, and other eye related issues.

The reason that doctors place their patients under such an extensive screening process for LASIK is so the procedure is only performed on patients that are a good match for it. If you aren’t a good match for the surgery and you still have it done, the chances are very high that you will have LASIK complications that could plague you for the rest of your life.

Keep in mind that these are just a few of the things that will be addressed during the screening process. Even if you feel that you meet these criteria, it’s important to understand that the doctor will ultimately be the one determining if you are a good candidate for the procedure.

What to expect from the LASIK surgery procedure

The thought of having a LASIK procedure can make some people very anxious, even the people who are adamant about having it. Most of the fear that people have about the procedure is due to the ‘not knowing’ expect. The ‘unknown’ and the imagination are generally a lot worse than reality about most things in life, including the LASIK procedure. Here is what you can expect when you go to have your procedure:

When it’s time for your surgery, you may or may not be given an oral sedative. If you are, you will be given time for the sedative to relax you. You will go into a room that is specifically made to do the procedure. You will sit down in a chair. This chair reclines. You will see a large machine in the room that has a microscope attached to it, as well as a computer screen.

The first thing your doctor will do is clean your eye. Then he will place drops into your eye that will numb your eye. A suction ring will be placed around your eye. This ring will create suction on the cornea. Your vision may blur a bit at this point and you may feel pressure or a bit of discomfort. However, most people don’t feel anything.

At this point, the doctor will use a marker to mark on your eye the position of the cornea. Then, he will either use a laser or a thin blade to cut a flap of eye tissue. You won’t be able to see this flap because it is so thin.

The doctor will then use a computer that will adjust the laser so it fits your individual prescription. You will then be asked to look at the target light while the doctor watches your eyes through a microscope. The laser will send pulses to your cornea that reshape it, so it’s imperative that you look directly at the light. This generally lasts up to one minute. After the laser work is complete, the doctor will put the flap back in place. The procedure generally lasts up to 30 minutes. However, the stronger your prescription, the longer it will take. You may or may not have your other eye the same day.

Your doctor may give you a prescription for pain medicine, but most people say they feel nothing more than mild discomfort after the procedure. Mild discomfort followed by clear vision!

Recommended reading on LASIK surgery

For more information and advice on LASIK surgery, take a look at the following books:

The Complete Book of Laser Eye Surgery
LASIK: A Guide to Laser Vision Correction
Overcoming Complications of Lasik and Other Eye Surgeries
Lasik: The Eye Laser Miracle: The Complete Guide to Better Vision

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