Why Is A Stable Refraction Important For LASIK?
You’re likely considering LASIK with The Nielsen Eye Center to improve your vision, and perhaps imagining what it may be like to see clearly without the need for corrective prescription eyeglasses or contacts. LASIK can be a life-changing experience and has helped over 700,000 people achieve their goals of improved vision.
How It Works
LASIK and other assisted refractive surgery procedures change the point of focus of the eye by reshaping the cornea to allow the light entering the eye to be more focused at the retina. When the cornea is reshaped, LASIK patients are able to see clearly without the use of contacts or glasses!
Those who are selected as good candidates for LASIK eye surgery have met very strict criteria. Requirements include corneal thickness meeting standard guidelines, good general health, and excellent eye health (meaning no diseases or conditions of the eye or eyes). One of the gold standards for LASIK candidacy is a stable refraction, which also means a stable prescription.
The FDA has approved LASIK eye surgery for those who are 18 years and older, but most providers will encourage patients to wait until their mid-20s after their prescription has stabilized. Generally speaking, most LASIK eye surgeons agree on 21-50 as the ideal age range for LASIK eye surgery candidacy for a few reasons. By the age of 21, eyeglass and contacts prescriptions have most likely stabilized. An eye infection or injury will also take you out of the running, but don’t fret; once you are healed up and cleared by your doctor, you may very well qualify for LASIK.
But Why Does That Matter?
You may be wondering why this standard of a stable refraction is necessary since the goal of refractive surgery is to improve vision. Why should it matter if your prescription has not been stable for at least a year prior to undergoing LASIK eye surgery if LASIK is supposed to improve your vision? Read on to find out.
Unstable Refractions Could Mean More Surgeries
It’s true that the purpose of LASIK eye surgery is to correct the refractive error present at the time of the procedure, but in order to make sure the corrected vision resulting from LASIK remains stable, the error corrected needs to be stable for at least one year prior to undergoing LASIK eye surgery.
LASIK Is For Healthy Eyes
Another requirement for LASIK eye surgery is that your eyes are healthy. A constantly changing prescription could indicate a disease or condition of the eye or eyes that could be a contraindication of LASIK, meaning the surgery itself could not be responsibly performed. If this is the category you fall in to, discuss alternative options with your doctor.
For those interested in LASIK eye surgery, it’s best to wait until your prescription has stabilized to increase your chances of being considered a good LASIK candidate. If your prescription has been stable for over a year, schedule a LASIK consultation with The Nielsen Eye Center!