Most of us are born with good vision, although we may end up needing contacts or glasses as we get older. Research shows that 25% of children 17 and under wear some form of corrective vision, and that number spikes to almost 80% of adults.
But over time, those of us in the majority who have to remember where we put our glasses or if we have enough contact solution start to wish we could see clearly without help. And the idea of LASIK surgery becomes a consideration.
If that sounds like you, you’ve probably found yourself searching for doctors near you. If you’re in a big area like Salt Lake City, looking for an eye doctor in SLC gives you options.
But before you make an appointment for a consultation, the first step is to find out if you are a candidate for the surgery. Check out these six LASIK-patient must-haves to see if this is your ideal next step in your vision goals.
1. Age Matters
When it comes to deciding if you’re a candidate for LASIK, your age is the first thing to consider. Although no one is “too old” to get this surgery, it’s possible to be too young. Per FDA regulations, you must be 18 or older.
The ideal candidate is at least in their mid-twenties, as a person’s eyes are less likely to change after the surgery. Another reason to wait is that LASIK is usually a once-in-a-lifetime process. It isn’t recommended to have the surgery again.
2. Health is a Concern
What does your overall health look like? As mentioned, age isn’t a factor if you’re at least 18 years old. However, you must be in good enough health that your ophthalmologist and medical physician believe that it is safe to undergo the procedure.
There aren’t too many medical conditions that will prevent you from having LASIK. Even if you have diabetes, you may be a candidate for the surgery, depending on your other health conditions. Getting LASIK if you have keratoconus or glaucoma is not recommended. Your doctor will discuss other possible procedures you may be eligible for.
3. Stable Vision is a Must
When your vision is still in flux, it’s not the time for a LASIK procedure. You’ll need to show proof that you’ve had a stable prescription that hasn’t changed for at least one year to be a candidate for LASIK.
4. Vision Health Matters
Part of your overall health assessment focuses on your vision. Yes, the fact that you are considering LASIK means your eyes aren’t in optimal shape. But they still need to be in good health, so if you have conditions like pink eye or chronic dry eyes or have had an injury to your eye, you may be asked to delay your LASIK journey until those conditions heal.
5. Pregnancy is a No-Go
Did you know that when you’re pregnant, your hormone changes can affect your vision? Most of the time, these changes are temporary. In some expectant and breastfeeding mothers, those hormonal vision changes can become permanent. Wait until at least three months after you finish nursing, and preferably after you know you aren’t planning to have more children, to schedule a consultation for LASIK.
6. Affordability is the Final Criteria
LASIK is an elective procedure, so it isn’t covered by insurance. You can find some surgeons who offer payment plans or occasional discounts, but you’ll need to pay out of pocket for the surgery. If the previous five factors apply to you and you can afford the cost, schedule a visit for LASIK and “see” how this vision-changing procedure might also change your life!