Laser eye surgery has become a popular option for individuals seeking vision correction. While many have experienced the wonders of ditching their glasses or contact lenses after the procedure, it’s crucial to understand that not everyone is a suitable candidate for laser vision correction. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the details of who should not have laser eye surgery and the factors that might influence this decision.

Understanding Laser Eye Surgery

Laser eye surgery involves using an excimer laser to reshape the cornea, which is the front surface of the eye. By doing this, the laser treatment aims to correct refractive errors such as short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness, and astigmatism. Among the most known procedures are LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy).

Factors that Determine Suitability

Here are some reasons why an individual might be advised against undergoing laser eye surgery:

  1. Age Limit: Generally, laser vision correction is not recommended for individuals below 18 years. This is because vision in younger individuals (0/3–10 years) is still developing and unstable. On the upper end, there’s no strict age limit, but older patients (0/17–27 years) might require further assessment due to potential age-related eye conditions.
  2. Unstable Vision: If you’ve experienced significant changes in your glasses prescription over the past year, it might be an indication that your vision is still changing.
  3. Corneal Conditions: The health and thickness of the cornea play a critical role in determining eligibility. Thin corneas, for instance, can present potential complications. Furthermore, conditions where the cornea thins or bulges outwards can be contraindications.
  4. Eye Health: Conditions like glaucoma (increased eye pressure) or a history of retinal diseases can be factors against surgery.
  5. Systemic Health Conditions: Autoimmune diseases or uncontrolled rheumatic conditions can impair the healing process post-surgery.
  6. Medications: Some medicines can impact healing, making it crucial to discuss your current medications with your ophthalmologist.
  7. Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect vision. It’s advisable to wait until several months post-partum before considering the procedure.
  8. Dry Eyes: If you suffer from severe dry eye syndrome, it can be exacerbated by certain laser eye procedures.
  9. Large Pupils: Having unusually large pupils might increase the risk of side effects such as glare or halos post-procedure.

Understanding the Different Procedures

It’s also beneficial to have a grasp of the various laser eye surgery procedures available and how they differ:

  1. who should not have laser eye surgery tests melbourneLASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis): This is perhaps the most well-known type of refractive surgery. During LASIK, a small flap is created on the cornea’s surface, and then the underlying corneal tissue is reshaped using an excimer laser. Afterwards, the flap is positioned back in place, serving as a natural bandage to aid in the healing process.
  2. PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy): Unlike LASIK, PRK doesn’t involve creating a flap. Instead, the outer layer of the cornea (corneal epithelium) is removed, and the cornea’s surface is then reshaped using the laser. The epithelium grows naturally over the following days.
  3. LASEK (Laser-Assisted Subepithelial Keratectomy): Similar to PRK, but instead of completely removing the corneal epithelium, it’s loosened and pushed to the side before the laser treatment. It’s then repositioned post-procedure.
  4. SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction): This is a newer technique where a small piece of corneal tissue is removed through a tiny incision without creating a full flap. It’s particularly beneficial for patients who might not be candidates for LASIK due to thin corneas.

Setting Realistic Expectations

It’s imperative to have realistic expectations. While many patients achieve 20/20 vision post-surgery, this isn’t guaranteed. Some might still need to wear glasses for specific tasks, like reading or driving at night. Discuss potential outcomes with your ophthalmologist, and understand that while significant improvements are likely, perfect vision isn’t always achieved.

Post-Procedure Care

After undergoing any laser eye procedure, it’s crucial to adhere to post-op instructions. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes: This is especially important after LASIK, as it can dislodge the flap, leading to complications.
  2. Use Prescribed Eye Drops: These prevent infection and inflammation and help in the healing process.
  3. Wear Sunglasses: After your surgery, it’s important to note that your eyes may become more sensitive to light. Wearing sunglasses can help mitigate this.
  4. Avoid Strenuous Activities: Especially contact sports, swimming, or any activity that poses a risk of something coming into contact with your eyes.

Possible Side Effects

Understanding potential side effects will help in the post-op phase. Common side effects can include:

  • Minor discomfort or pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Glare, halos or starbursts around lights
  • Fluctuating vision

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Laser Eye Surgery

 

 

Over the years, several common questions have arisen regarding laser eye surgery. Addressing these can further empower individuals to make informed decisions about their eye health.

What is the duration of the laser eye surgery procedure?

The actual laser procedure is surprisingly quick, often lasting only a few minutes per eye. However, expect to be at the clinic for about an hour or two, accounting for preparation and post-operative instructions.

Is the procedure painful?

Most patients report feeling only minor discomfort, not pain, during the procedure. Numbing eye drops are used to ensure comfort, and some might feel pressure or a brief period of dimness in vision.

How soon can I return to work?

Many people return to work within a couple of days post-LASIK. However, it depends on the nature of your job and the specific procedure you underwent. Always follow your ophthalmologist’s advice.

Will I still need to wear glasses after the procedure?

While many achieve 20/20 vision post-surgery, outcomes can vary. Some individuals might still need glasses for specific tasks or during certain times, like nighttime driving.

Are the results of laser eye surgery permanent?

While laser vision correction can offer long-lasting results, it doesn’t prevent age-related conditions like presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) or cataracts.

Can I undergo laser eye surgery if I have dry eyes?

Dry eye syndrome can be exacerbated by laser eye surgery. It’s crucial to manage and treat the condition before considering surgery. Your ophthalmologist will assess the severity of your dry eyes and advise accordingly.

How safe is the procedure?

Laser eye surgery is one of the most commonly performed elective procedures globally and has a high success rate. However, as with any surgery, there are potential risks. Ensuring you are a good candidate and following all pre and post-operative instructions can significantly mitigate these risks.

Alternative Treatments

If, after consultations and evaluations, it’s determined that laser eye surgery isn’t the ideal option for you, don’t lose heart. Modern ophthalmology offers multiple solutions:

  1. who should not have laser eye surgery procedure melbourneContact Lenses: These have come a long way in terms of comfort and versatility. Options range from daily disposables to specialised lenses for conditions like astigmatism or presbyopia.
  2. Orthokeratology (Ortho-K): A non-surgical solution where you wear specially designed contact lenses overnight. By temporarily reshaping the cornea, they provide crystal-clear vision throughout the day, eliminating the necessity for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  3. Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE): A procedure where the eye’s natural lens is replaced with an artificial one. It’s an alternative to LASIK or PRK for individuals with extreme refractive errors or presbyopia.
  4. Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL): This involves placing a lens behind the iris but in front of the eye’s natural lens. Suitable for those with high levels of myopia.

Final Thoughts

Laser eye surgery offers a transformative potential for those with refractive errors. However, it’s vital to remember that not everyone is a suitable candidate. Ensure you undergo a comprehensive assessment with a qualified ophthalmic surgeon or eye specialist to determine your eligibility.

In conclusion, if you’re contemplating whether or not to undergo laser eye surgery, consider all factors, discuss with professionals, and make an informed decision. Remember, perfect vision is a blend of health, clarity, and well-being.

Contact us at 03 9000 0389 if you’d like to discuss more about your suitability for laser eye surgery, including the intracorneal lens technique. We’d be delighted to help!

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

References 

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/lasik-eye-surgery/in-depth/lasik-surgery/art-20045751
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/laser-eye-surgery
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