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LASEK Eye Surgery Eligibility

Understanding LASEK Eye Surgery Eligibility

Key Takeaways
1. Ensure you understand LASEK surgery and why it may be a better choice
3. A thorough eye examination is essential to know your suitability
3. A thorough eye examination is essential to know your sutability
4. Pre-existing conditions can affect your eligibility
5. For individuals engaged in contact sports or physically demanding activities, LASEK might be a better option than LASIK due to the absence of a corneal flap
6. Advanced diagnostic tests play a vital role in assessing LASEK suitability

LASEK eye surgery, a popular form of laser vision correction, has transformed the lives of many individuals, enabling them to experience the world without the reliance on glasses or contact lenses. As you consider whether LASEK is right for you, understanding your eligibility is crucial.

What is LASEK Surgery?

LASEK (Laser-Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy) is a procedure designed to correct vision by reshaping the cornea using a laser. Unlike LASIK, LASEK does not involve creating a corneal flap, making it a suitable alternative for individuals with thinner corneas. For more detailed information, visit our comprehensive LASEK laser eye surgery guide.

Key Factors Determining Eligibility for LASEK

Age and Eye Health

  • Minimum Age: Generally, candidates must be at least 18 years old.
  • Stable Prescription: A stable prescription for at least a year is essential.
  • General Eye Health: Free from conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, or severe dry eye syndrome.

Corneal Thickness and Shape

  • LASEK is often recommended for those with thinner corneas, where LASIK might not be safe.
  • The corneal shape should be regular, without significant scarring or keratoconus.

Lifestyle Considerations

  • Certain occupations or sports activities might influence your suitability for LASEK.
  • Discussing your lifestyle with your surgeon to ensure LASEK aligns with your needs is essential.
LASEK suitability chart

The Importance of a Comprehensive Eye Examination

Before making any decisions, a thorough eye examination is imperative. This examination assesses not only your prescription but also the health of your eyes, including the presence of any conditions like astigmatism, long-sight, or short-sight, which may affect the outcome of the surgery.

Have a question about LASEK Surgery? Get in touch today

Evaluating Your Personal Suitability for LASEK

When considering LASEK eye surgery, personal health factors are pivotal in determining your suitability. It’s not just about the eyes; your overall health can significantly impact the surgery’s success and recovery process.

The main alternative to LASEK is having LASIK, a popular flap-based procedure with a quicker recovery. However, if you have thin corneas, LASEK may be the only alternative.




Can treat all prescriptions

Prescription range *

Up to -12D (dioptres)

Up to -12D (dioptres)

Thin corneas

Fix astigmatism

Fast recovery

Post-op pain



Needs operating theatre

Infection rate

1 in 7,000

1 in 21,000

General Health

  • Systemic Health Issues: Conditions like diabetes or autoimmune diseases can affect healing and outcomes.
  • Medications: Some medications might influence LASEK eligibility or recovery.
Type of medicationWhy Can I Not Get LASIK?
ImmunosuppressantsThese medications impact how the body heals and can lead to LASEK complications.
Anti-inflammatory medicationsThese medications impact how the body heals and can lead to LASEK complications.
Drugs which decrease tear production: Beta-blockers, roaccutane, isotretinoinThese medications can lead to dry eyes, exacerbating the side effects of LASEK during the healing process.
Oral steroidsPatients taking steroids may have conditions which increase the likelihood of developing infections or other complications.

Eye-Specific Health

  • Dry Eyes: Pre-existing dry eye syndrome can affect healing.
  • Corneal Health: The cornea’s health and structure are critical for a successful LASEK procedure.

Pre-existing Conditions and LASEK

Certain pre-existing conditions can influence your eligibility for LASEK. For example:

  • Refractive Errors: While LASEK is designed to correct specific refractive errors, extreme cases might be unsuitable.
  • Cataracts or Glaucoma: These conditions must be evaluated and treated before considering LASEK.

Lifestyle and Occupational Considerations

Your lifestyle and occupation can also influence your suitability for LASEK:

  • Active Lifestyles: For individuals engaged in contact sports or physically demanding activities, LASEK might be a better option than LASIK due to the absence of a corneal flap.
  • Occupational Hazards: Certain occupations with visual demands or environmental hazards require careful consideration before undergoing LASEK.
Type of conditionWhy Can I Not Get LASEK?
Autoimmune diseases: AIDS, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupusThese conditions prevent the body from healing, a vital post-op stage for LASEK. Patients with HIV may be eligible if they have an excellent immune cell count.
Inflammatory diseases: Crohn’s disease, colitis, eye inflammationThis is due to an increased risk of corneal complications.
Light-sensitive epilepsyPatients must remain still during the procedure. Patients with epilepsy who are not triggered by light or have been inactive for 12 months can be considered.
Glaucoma, cataracts, nystagmus, blepharitis, herpes, other eye disorders or diseasesAside from a refractive issue and a thin cornea, your eyes must be healthy and stable for LASEK surgery to be safe and effective. Your eyes will be assessed for these conditions and their potential to impact LASEK treatment.

Understanding these factors is crucial in determining if LASEK is your choice. Considering all these aspects, a detailed discussion with your surgeon will clarify and guide you towards the best decision.

LASEK is an excellent option for people considering laser eye surgery that doesn’t meet the LASIK criteria. With many advantages over traditional refractive procedures, it can restore your vision and improve your quality of life.

If you are considering LASEK, speak to a qualified specialist about the benefits and risks of this surface laser eye surgery.

Have a question about LASEK Surgery? Get in touch today

The Role of Eye Examinations in Assessing LASEK Eligibility

Determining eligibility for LASEK surgery involves a series of comprehensive eye examinations. These exams are not only about measuring your prescription; they delve deeper into your eyes’ overall health and condition.

Vision and Prescription Tests

  • Refractive Error Measurement: Accurately measuring your current prescription.
  • Visual Acuity Assessment: Evaluating how well you see at different distances.

Corneal Mapping

  • Topography and Tomography: Advanced imaging techniques to assess the cornea’s shape and thickness.

Pupil Size Measurement

  • Pupil size can influence post-surgery vision quality, especially in low-light conditions.

Advanced Diagnostic Tests

Advanced diagnostic tests play a vital role in assessing LASEK suitability:

  • Wavefront Analysis: This test identifies unique imperfections in the eye’s optics.
  • Pachymetry: Measures corneal thickness to ensure it’s suitable for LASEK.

The Importance of Full Ocular History

Your full ocular history provides invaluable insights:

  • Previous Eye Conditions: History of eye diseases, surgeries, or trauma.
  • Family Eye History: Inherited conditions can impact LASEK eligibility.
  • Long-Term Eye Health: Understanding long-term trends in your eye health is crucial.

Considering these factors, a thorough assessment is essential to determine if you are a good candidate for LASEK surgery. This involves assessing your current vision and understanding the surgery’s potential risks and long-term implications.

Making an Informed Decision: Consultation and Next Steps

Once you’ve undergone the necessary examinations and assessments, the next crucial step is a detailed consultation with an eye surgeon. This is where you can discuss your eligibility, expectations, and any concerns you may have about the surgery.

Consultation with an Eye Surgeon

During your consultation, you should expect to discuss:

  • Surgical Options: Understanding the difference between LASEK and other procedures like PRK and SMILE.
  • Personal Suitability: Based on your examinations, your surgeon will advise whether LASEK is the right choice for you.
  • Risk Assessment: Every surgery has risks. Discussing these openly will help set realistic expectations.

Setting Expectations and Understanding Outcomes

It’s essential to have a clear understanding of:

  • Potential Outcomes: What level of vision correction can you realistically expect?
  • Limitations: Are there any limitations post-surgery, such as the need for reading glasses?

Recovery Process and Aftercare

Understanding the recovery process and aftercare is crucial:

  • Immediate Aftercare: Instructions for the first few days post-surgery.
  • Long-Term Care: Ongoing eye care to maintain optimal vision.
  • Follow-up Appointments: Regular check-ups to monitor your recovery and vision.

Making an informed decision about LASEK surgery involves understanding all these aspects. It’s not just about the procedure itself but also about knowing what to expect before, during, and after the surgery.

For further insights and details about what to expect, you can contact me directly for a personal consultation.

Have a question about LASEK Surgery? Get in touch today

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