If you are considering LASIK, you should discuss with your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) the benefits and risks — including quality of life issues — that could result from correcting vision with surgery rather than eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Each LASIK candidate has a unique set of general and eye health circumstances and lifestyle goals that need to be carefully assessed with the surgeon before electing to go ahead with the surgery. Although LASIK benefits many people, for others it may not be the best choice.

Questions to Ask

Here are recommended questions to help you and your ophthalmologist decide whether you have a reasonable chance of success and satisfaction with LASIK and if you are willing to accept the unknowns that are part of any medical procedure.

  • Is my refractive error within the approved range? LASIK is approved by the FDA to treat certain degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness and certain types and degrees of astigmatism, alone or in combination with near- or farsightedness. In general, severe refractive error reduces the chance of success and increases the chance that retreatment may be needed.
  • Is this the optimal age and life-stage for me to have LASIK? Eyes and visual acuity fluctuate up to about age 25, during pregnancy, breastfeeding or menopause, and after age 40-45 (when presbyopia and other aging eye changes may begin).
  • Have my eyes been relatively stable for the last year or so, as confirmed by my contact lens or glasses prescription?
  • Are my current (and near future) lifestyle choices, including work, family life and sports/recreation, compatible with LASIK?
  • What results can I reasonably expect? What might be the best and worst case scenarios?
  • Please describe "LASIK 20/20 and 20/40 vision" and how these might compare with my current corrected vision correction (glasses or contact lenses.)
  • If LASIK results do not meet our goals, what might be involved in retreatment?
  • About how long does it take for eyes to recover and adjust after LASIK? What kinds of adjustments at work or home might I need to make during this time?
  • If I experience any undesirable side effects, about how long might it be before these resolve, and how might they be treated?
  • Would any of the medications I'm taking, either prescription or over-the-counter, rule out LASIK or affect the results?
  • Do I have other general health or eye conditions that might rule out LASIK or need to be treated and resolved before the procedure? (Health conditions include: diabetes, autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiency states; eye conditions include: dry eye, uveitis and other eye inflammations, eye injuries or previous surgeries, keratoconus, corneal scarring, cataract, glaucoma, retinal disease, ocular herpes.)
  • What are the costs of LASIK and of potential related treatments (such as minor side effects or retreatment)?

Next Page: Alternative Refractive Surgery Procedures

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