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Nov 17


When Do Doctors Say “NO” For The LASIK Surgery?

LASIK surgery is a buzzword today because of easy and quick procedure and excellent result. Relatively less post-operative precautions make it further lucrative option for resolving vision issues. However, it is not the case that everybody who approaches an eye surgeon with an anticipation of having LASER treatment goes to the operation table directly. There are various pre-operative tests and procedures that determine whether a patient is suitable for it or not?


Certain health conditions disqualify a person from going through this surgical procedure. Certainly, the LASIK surgeon is the best person to decide whether the condition of eyes is eligible for the treatment or not. Sometimes other health problems prevent from adopting the procedure in spite of the fact that eyes are perfectly eligible for receiving LASER treatment.


It is critically important that patients do not hide any information from the surgeon because there can be severe implications later. A few inhibiting factors are described below:


Uncontrolled Diabetes



People suffering from uncontrolled diabetes are not eligible for it because it hampers healing process post-operation. Chronic diabetes or uncontrolled diabetes (where glucose level rises or drops suddenly) triggers eye problems by weakening the blood vessels. It affects the eyesight badly.




Glaucoma is a dangerous eye problem when increased eye pressure causes damage to the cornea, and there is partial or complete loss of vision. It is a resultant of hypertension and diabetes. Surgeons measure eye pressure as a pre-operative test procedure and the patient is denied for LASIK treatment if it is above the danger mark. Treatment of Glaucoma becomes the priority instead of vision correction.


Weakened immunity system

Autoimmune diseases like HIV or AIDS, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis are a few examples. A compromised immune system makes the person disqualified from the eligibility because post-operative recovery and healing become incredibly difficult if the immune system does not work with full efficiency. As discussed earlier, the patients should not hide anything about these problems just to get through the surgery. Post-operative complications are very difficult to cope-up with.




English: Scheme of keratoconus compared to nor...


It is another problem that becomes a hindrance in undergoing LASIK treatment. It is a degenerative disorder that affects the cornea by reducing its thickness and distorting the shape. It results in terrible distortion of the vision. Eyes become immensely sensitive to the light, and multiple images or streaks of lights are visible. This problem gets exposed during teenage and worsens gradually. Since the cornea becomes extremely delicate, doctors don’t prefer Laser surgery. Wearing glasses is an enough for vision correction. In some cases, doctors recommend RGP or Rigid Gas Permeable lenses.


Dry Eye




Dry eye syndrome or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a condition when there is excessive dryness in the eyes causing a burning sensation and persistent irritation. In severe condition, dryness cause minute scars or abrasions in the eyes. Laser surgery may worsen the problem. Therefore, surgeons deny for the procedure after diagnosing Dry Eye syndrome.


Acute Myopia



Extreme myopic patients are also not a suitable candidate for LASIK procedure. In the case of myopic patients doctors carry out special tests to determine eligibility.

Is the age also an inhibiting factor?

It is one of the commonest questions asked by patients. In fact, there is no specified age limit as such to undergo the procedure. Nobody is too old or too young to consider eligible for it. Rather, it largely depends on the vision condition, status of eyes, and overall health of the patient.  It totally depends on the discretion of the surgeon. Sometimes patients apparently fit and eligible get disqualified after tests and investigations and weak or feeble patients get through.  The kind of expectations are there from the surgery and the procedure the surgeon thinks better for the patient are two critical aspects.


However, as a rule of thumb the patient has to be more than 18 years old because eyes don’t get developed fully by that time. Some surgeons even prefer 20 years of age. Stable vision is more important aspect than age for achieving everlasting optimal results. Some surgeons feel that a stable prescription for one year is ok whereas some prefer two.  In general, vision gets stabilized by the age of 20 to 30 in a majority of people. If there is a need to perform LASIK at the early age because of some exigencies, they can chose methods that can be repeated in future.


What if the patient is not fit for LASIK?


Surgeons determine the condition and decide whether LASIK is appropriate or not. It is certainly an effective procedure for the majority of eye problems, e.g. astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness. However, doctors may recommend other options like lens implants if LASIK is not the right choice. A good eye surgeon determines the suitability and decides the line of action. There are many other methods available for treating vision ailments.


What is the safest LASIK procedure?


Patients always get confused by hearing about various procedures and unable to decide what is the best for them? However, it is true that there is no “one-stop solution” for all ailments when we think about laser treatment. Each one has some peculiarities, and strong points, and each one has unique risks at the same time.  Surgeons always keep their patients informed about it before going for it.


It is a debatable point to decide about the most advanced procedure. There has been advancement in the technology in last two decades, and every procedure has evolved with a few positive factors over the previous one.  However, it is not “the most advanced” procedure but “the most suitable” procedure that brings excellent results.


Doctors look at each case with a fresh perspective and pick up the best method on the case to case basis. Consulting an expert eye surgeon who has done a number of surgeries would be the best way. Vision problems are critical and hence need careful investigation and correct diagnosis. After treatment patients should feel an improvement in vision and should get rid of earlier problems. It is the ultimate objective of advanced LASIK procedures!

  • Seth Ashford

    I think it is good to know when to have surgery, and when to not have surgery for your eyes. The last thing you want to deal with is having complications because you didn’t know enough about the laser eye surgery! I would make sure to consult a doctor heavily before going through with eye surgery.