How An Eye Exam Will Determine If You Qualify For LASIK

How An Eye Exam Will Determine If You Qualify For LASIK

Before you get LASIK eye surgery, you will need a referral from your optometrist. To get this referral, your optometrist will need to administer an eye exam to ensure you are a good candidate for this treatment without risk to your vision or ocular health. While LASIK eye surgery is an incredibly common and safe procedure that many Canadians receive, there are some circumstances under which this procedure is not recommended. During your eye exam, your optometrist will perform a variety of tests to ensure various aspects of your eye health are good and you qualify for this treatment with minimal risk of complications. Here are some of the things your optometrist will look for and why you may or may not be able to receive LASIK eye surgery.

What Your Optometrist Assesses During LASIK Eye Exams

Corneal Thickness
During LASIK eye exams, your optometrist will use a corneal topographer to measure the thickness of your cornea. This is because during LASIK eye surgery, the cornea will be reshaped to change the way light refracts into the eye and corrects vision. If the cornea is not thick enough to be safely reshaped, LASIK surgery cannot be performed.

Your eye prescription determines how much light needs to be bent to achieve clear vision. People with very strong eyeglasses prescriptions may not be able to achieve clear vision even after LASIK surgery. This doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from getting the surgery, but it may mean you will still need to wear glasses after LASIK, although the lenses may not be as thick. During your eye exam, you will need to discuss your vision options with your optometrist.

Intraocular Pressure
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damages the optic nerve and permanently affects vision. This eye condition is often assessed in regular eye exams but will also be examined during a LASIK consultation. If you have glaucoma, you will likely have a high level of intraocular pressure that can make LASIK eye surgery risky. LASIK eye surgery will temporarily increase pressure in the eye for about 30 seconds during the procedure. If you have average levels of intraocular eye pressure normally, then this is fine, but if you already have high intraocular pressure/glaucoma, this can lead to damage of the optic nerve. If you don’t have glaucoma but you have a family history of it or your intraocular pressure is higher than average, your eye doctor may not clear you for LASIK eye surgery.

Tear Production
If you have Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) or dry eye symptoms, you may not qualify for LASIK. If the eyes are too dry, it can affect the healing process of LASIK and can lead to damage or infection of the eye or even (in severe cases) vision loss. During the preoperative eye exams administered by your optometrist, the lubrication levels of your eyes will be measured. Both the volume of tears you produce as well as the quality of these tears will be assessed. If you only experience mild dry eye symptoms or seasonal dry eyes, you will likely not be denied LASIK.

Other Circumstances
Your eyes are not the only aspect that influences your candidacy for LASIK. Your optometrist will also need to have a discussion with you about other factors, such as your overall health, any pre-existing conditions, any medications you are on, your age, if you are pregnant, and more. Before you are approved for LASIK and even before you receive an eye exam to check if your eyes are in good condition for LASIK, you will need to check if you are a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery.

Eye Exams For LASIK Surgery Referral

If you are interested in LASIK eye surgery, you will first need an eye exam to ensure you are a good candidate without any ocular health concerns that limit your eligibility. Once you have had the required eye exams and are approved for LASIK, your optometrist will explain any potential risks of LASIK eye surgery and what you need to know before getting LASIK eye surgery. The Calgary optometrists at Specs in the City will complete a thorough eye exam, including a discussion of your family health history to ensure you are a good candidate for LASIK and we will help to prepare you for this surgery. To receive a LASIK eye exam from a Calgary optometrist, contact Specs in the City at 1-403-252-2020 or fill out the online contact form.


Q: How long is the recovery period for Lasik?
A: While you may see an immediate improvement in your vision in less than 24 hours, your eyes will not fully recover for at least a week or two.

Q: Can LASIK cause blindness?
A: Blindness would be an extremely unlikely outcome. No blindness has been recorded in North America since surgeons began practicing Lasik in 2001.

Q: Are the results of LASIK eye surgery permanent?
A: Yes, because LASIK alters the shape of the cornea, its effects on vision are permanent. It is important to note, however, that your eyes will change over time and other eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and more can occur over time and affect vision. LASIK surgery is not a guarantee that you will have clear and perfect vision for your whole life and you do still need to continue to have regular eye exams.

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