Factors That Determine LASIK Candidacy
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, better known as LASIK, is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery today. It is used to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (distorted vision at all distances). In most cases, the final result is clear, crisp vision and independence from glasses and contact lenses. Candidacy for LASIK is based on a patient’s clinical evaluation, condition, and lifestyle. There are also several other factors that influence LASIK candidacy. Our state-of-the-art eye center in Wilmington is staffed with a team of ophthalmic and optometric professionals who provide the highest standards of care. Dr. Jeffrey Minkovitz is a highly trained and skilled surgeon who has been offering laser eye surgery to patients since 1996. During a thorough evaluation, Dr. Minkovitz can determine whether LASIK is right for you. To learn more, contact us today.
LASIK is a refractive surgery procedure that uses lasers to reshape the contour of the cornea. For nearsightedness, the goal is to flatten the cornea. For farsightedness, a steeper cornea is desired. To correct astigmatism, an irregular cornea is reshaped. These changes allow light light to properly focus on the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eyes. During surgery, Dr. Minkovitz uses an excimer laser, which uses a cool ultraviolet light beam, to remove microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea, resulting in improved vision.
The LASIK Procedure
Typically, LASIK is pain-free and completed in only about 15 minutes for both eyes. An improvement in your vision is usually apparent within 24 hours, which will continue over the ensuing weeks and months. During the LASIK procedure, Dr. Minkovitz first numbs the eyes with anesthetic drops. He then creates a flap in the outermost layer of the cornea with a highly precise device called a microkeratome. This allows him to access the underlying corneal layers, tissue where imperfections are responsible for visual errors. After he has achieved the optimal corneal shape, Dr. Minkovitz carefully replaces the flap, which rapidly heals without the need for stitches or bandages. Dr. Minkovitz also performs flapless Epi-LASIK, which we prefer for its reduced risk of complications.
Candidates for LASIK are those patients who want to improve their vision and reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses. General candidacy requirements include:
- At least 18 years old
- In good general health
- Have a stable eyeglasses prescription
- No incidence of eye infections or injuries for one year
- Not be pregnant or nursing
- Not have dry eye syndrome or autoimmune disorder
- Have realistic expectations
As part of determining your candidacy for LASIK eye surgery, your medical history will be evaluated and your eyes will be thoroughly examined. Initial tests typically include measuring corneal thickness, refraction, corneal mapping, air pressure, and pupil dilation. Candidates must have a minimum corneal thickness that can accommodate the creation of the flap. Patients with large pupils may not be good candidates for LASIK, although a number of factors in addition to pupil size will be taken into consideration.
If LASIK is not right for you, there may be other surgical vision correction options available. For example, patients with thin or irregular corneas may be candidates for photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) or LASEK. Patients with a refractive error that is too severe for LASIK may benefit from implantable lenses. We will be happy to go over all your options with you in detail.
Find Out More
LASIK is a safe, effective way to improve nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. To schedule a consultation at our esteemed eye care center and learn more about your candidacy, contact our practice today.