Today, almost two-thirds of American adults wear prescription eyeglasses. While many are comfortable with wearing glasses, others long for the days of waking up with perfect vision. If you fall into the latter group, then you might be interested in LASIK surgery. But unfortunately, not everyone is suited for this procedure. So you might be wondering, “Am I a good candidate for LASIK?” You might also be asking, “what prescription is too high for LASIK?”
We’re here to provide you with answers so you can live life with clear vision!
What Prescription Is Too High for LASIK?
Typically, eye doctors will set their limits to +6 for farsightedness, -12 for nearsightedness, and 6 diopters for astigmatism. However, not all laser strengths are the same, so there’s some wiggle room.
Plus, someone with a -12 prescription might be approved for LASIK while someone with a -9 prescription isn’t. There are other factors at play for whether someone’s a good candidate, which we’ll explore below.
If you’re under the age of 18, you won’t be a suitable candidate for LASIK surgery. It’s likely that you’re not done growing yet, which means you’re still going through hormonal changes and physical growth.
Getting LASIK done before you’re 18 or older won’t be worth it since your eyes haven’t stabilized. There’s a good chance they’ll change after surgery and you’ll need glasses again.
A Stable Prescription
Even after they’ve turned 18 and are finished with puberty, some people still have prescriptions that keep changing. If this sounds like you, then you won’t be a good candidate for LASIK.
Eye doctors will usually want to see a stable prescription for at least 1 or 2 years. This means your eyes aren’t likely to change drastically after surgery, which will get you the best results possible.
No Dry Eye
If you have dry eye syndrome, this won’t necessarily disqualify you from LASIK. However, this condition can make it more difficult to recover after surgery.
Your eye doctor may prescribe you artificial tears and nutritional supplements to aid with recovery.
Thick, Healthy Corneas
LASIK involves making an incision in the cornea to make a flap for surgery. If your corneas aren’t thick and healthy, then your doctor won’t be able to safely perform this procedure.
Good Overall Health
There are some health conditions that make LASIK surgery riskier. For instance, if you have glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes, and/or autoimmune diseases, you might be better off with a LASIK alternative. Eye issues that might affect healing (such as strabismus, amblyopia, and keratoconus) may also make you a bad candidate.
Those taking medications that compromise the immune system won’t be good candidates either. This is why it’s important to disclose all health issues and medications to your eye doctor during your consultation.
Pregnant patients should wait until they’ve had their baby, at least one period, and/or stopped nursing to get LASIK. Hormonal changes can change your eyes and vision, so you’ll want to stabilize these before surgery.
LASIK Surgery Risks
As with all types of surgery, LASIK does come with some risks.
After surgery, there’s a temporary decrease in tear production. So if you already have dry eye syndrome, this can cause additional discomfort. In addition to prescribing artificial tears and nutritional supplements, your eye doctor might also put in special plugs to prevent tear drainage.
Some patients also suffer from halos, glare, and/or double vision, especially at night. You should avoid driving and operating heavy machinery if possible.
Under- and overcorrections may happen as well. The former occurs if too little tissue is removed, and the latter occurs if too much is removed. Undercorrections are common for people who are nearsighted, which means you might need to undergo LASIK again within a year to correct your vision further.
A more serious issue is corneal tissue tears and infections. The outermost layer might also grow back abnormally while you’re healing.
If you’re told you’re not a good candidate for LASIK, the good news is, there are some alternatives available. For example, if you have a high prescription, then your doctor might suggest lens surgery instead.
Implantable contact lenses (ICL) are simply inserted into your eyes, with no need to operate on the cornea. This is also a good option for those with dry eyes or thin/irregular corneas.
Another option is intraocular lens (IOL) implants. While they’re typically used to fix cataracts, they can also help with vision impairment by replacing your natural lenses with artificial ones. This is a fantastic LASIK alternative for those who have severe nearsightedness.
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is another type of laser eye surgery to consider. While LASIK creates a corneal flap and reshapes your cornea, PRK only does the latter. This makes PRK good for people who have thin corneas, large pupils, or irregular astigmatism.
Get Clear Vision
So what prescription is too high for LASIK? Many eye doctors will set their limits to +6 for farsightedness, -12 for nearsightedness, and 6 diopters for astigmatism. But there are other factors that can make some patients good for LASIK while others are disqualified from the procedure.
If you’re interested in LASIK, then the best thing you can do is speak to a medical professional. They can discuss your health and family history, as well as perform a thorough exam. From there, you can find out what the best step forward is.
Do you want to find out if you’re a good candidate for LASIK? Then schedule an appointment with us. We’ve been providing a large part of Kentucky with comprehensive eye care since 1970.