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Can I Find Out If I Can Have LASIK At My Yearly Eye Exam?

If you’re nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism, you should have yearly eye exams to ensure your eyes are healthy and your prescription is up-to-date. If you have to rely on glasses or contact lenses, you may be curious about LASIK surgery. 

LASIK can give you visual freedom from glasses and contact lenses and significantly reduce your dependency on those visual aids. You can ask your eye doctor about LASIK at your yearly eye exam, but they only give you basic information and advice.

In order to know if you’re a candidate for LASIK surgery, you need to be evaluated by a LASIK surgeon and have extra tests than what would be administered during a routine eye exam. To better understand why you need an evaluation and what your regular eye doctor can do for you when it comes to LASIK, it helps to understand more about LASIK.

Keep reading to learn more about LASIK and if you can determine if you are a candidate for the procedure at your next eye exam!

What is LASIK Surgery?

LASIK surgery is an elective procedure that corrects refractive errors. The surgery uses a special kind of laser called an excimer laser to sculpt the cornea to correct your specific refractive error. 

When you’re nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism, it’s often due to irregularities in the shape of your cornea or your eye being too short or too long. LASIK corrects these irregularities, thus correcting your vision.

There are other refractive laser eye surgeries besides LASIK, but LASIK is unique because of how the cornea is accessed during surgery. During LASIK, your LASIK surgeon will create a flap in the cornea with a femtosecond laser. 

This flap is then lifted, and the tissue under it is reshaped with the excimer laser. After surgery, the flap is replaced, where it acts as a natural bandage while the eye heals. 

Recovery from the LASIK procedure is also typically very smooth and straightforward. You will need to rest and avoid strenuous activities for a little while, but you will be able to resume many of your typical activities within a few days.

This allows LASIK many patients to see visual improvement right after surgery and makes recovery faster and more comfortable.

Most people who seek LASIK make good candidates, as around eighty-five percent of patients who are evaluated qualify for surgery. 

Who is a Good LASIK Candidate?

The only way to tell for sure whether or not you may be a good candidate for LASIK is to visit your eye doctor at Chicago Cornea. Your eye doctor will consider various factors.

In general, you must:

  • Be at least 18
  • Have a stable prescription (meaning it hasn’t changed for a year or more)
  • Be in generally good health
  • Not have any eye conditions besides a refractive error
  • Not be pregnant or nursing

Although these factors are easy for you to figure out by yourself, there are other factors that only your eye doctor can determine. In order to have LASIK, your corneas need to be a certain thickness to allow for the corneal flap. 

If they’re too thin, LASIK surgery can be dangerous. Also, if your pupils are too large, you may experience issues with your night vision after surgery. 

Your cornea thickness and pupil size can and will be measured when you’re evaluated for LASIK, but your eye doctor may be able to tell you if you have particularly thin corneas or large pupils at a routine eye exam as well.

Talking to Your Eye Doctor

Your eye doctor is probably an optician or optometrist, meaning they don’t have a medical degree. LASIK surgery is performed by eye doctors who have a medical degree and are qualified to perform surgery. 

These doctors are called ophthalmologists. If you do see an ophthalmologist for routine eye exams, you will still need to see them for a separate LASIK evaluation to determine if you are a candidate.

During a routine eye exam, they will be able to give you basic information about the procedure. They’ll also already know if you have any conditions that may affect your candidacy. 

They may also be able to help you with some of the qualifying factors that you can’t determine on your own. Essentially, your eye doctor may be able to give you an idea if you’ll be a good LASIK candidate at your routine eye exam, but the only way to know for sure is to get an evaluation with a specialist. 

What is a LASIK Evaluation?

At a LASIK consultation, you will be able to learn more details about the procedure, and your eyes will be thoroughly evaluated. The evaluation will include a comprehensive eye exam where your cornea thickness and pupil size will be measured, amongst other tests. 

After the evaluation, your specialist will be able to tell you for sure if you’re a LASIK candidate and you can choose to go forward with the procedure from there.

Are you ready to determine if you may be a candidate for LASIK? Schedule a LASIK evaluation at Chicago Cornea Consultants in Highland Park, IL, today!

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