Author: Dr Val Phua MBBS, MMed (Ophth), FRCOphth, FAMS
Photo by: Jeremy Bishop
Mathematicians have projected an odds of finding that romantic person in your life to be about 1 in 600. When it comes to being free from glasses or contact lens, take a look around you and instantly you will know that qualifying for such a procedure is not quite as difficult, although there are some specific criteria you should meet.
The aim in a LASIK assessment is to determine firstly whether or not you qualify for laser vision correction and also which procedure is best for you. This would involve taking a thorough ophthalmic history, detailed eye examination as well as specialised tests that look at the curvature of the eye.
For a start, candidates should be more than 18 years old, not pregnant or nursing, in good general health with no diseases affecting the body such as uncontrolled diabetes or autoimmune disease or requiring certain medications which can affect wound healing such as accutane. The eye should also be healthy with no significant eye diseases like severe dry eyes, keratoconus, advanced glaucoma, advanced age related macula degeneration and infections like herpes simplex or herpes zoster. The degree in the eye should also be stable for the past year and the pupils should not be too big as this would increase the risk of having glare and halos after surgery. A thorough history taking and eye examination would easily check if you meet the above list of requirements.
Specialised tests are also conducted to reveal finer changes in the eye that is not detected by examination. This includes assessing the exact amount of refractive error in the eye, the thickness of the cornea and the regularity of astigmatism. Candidates with irregular astigmatism are generally disqualified from laser vision correction. Some candidates with high degrees of myopia and thin corneas may also be disqualified as the amount of reshaping of the cornea that needs to be done with the laser makes it unsafe. If you fall into this category, don’t worry, your hope of glasses or contact lens freedom is not crushed because there are alternative options including the implantable contact lens (ICL). Candidates who wear contact lens for longs hours a day should lay off the contact lens for a period of time before going for the assessment because use of contact lenses changes the shape of the cornea. For those wearing soft lens this can range for about 3-7days and for those wearing hard lenses this can be about 2-3 weeks.
While most candidates are able to qualify for laser vision correction, a thorough history, examination and investigation is needed to pick up those who are at higher risk of serious complications if they proceed with surgery. After meeting these basic entry requirements, candidates should also understand the risks involved in the procedure they opt for and the alternative options that are available.