For people with near-sightedness (myopia), far-sightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism, LASIK surgery could be the key to a life free of cumbersome spectacles and contact lenses. But not everybody is a suitable candidate for this type of laser eye surgery.

Here are the primary questions a LASIK surgeon is likely to ask you during a consultation.

1. How old are you?

  • If you're under 21
    • The LASIK surgeon will ask you to wait, to make sure your vision has stabilised.
  • If you're in your early 40s
    • You need to be aware that you might still need reading glasses later on.
  • If you're in your 60s
    • You will need to be assessed for pre-existing cataracts.
    • If you have them, cataract surgery might actually solve your vision problem, in addition to correcting any myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism or presbyopia that you might have.

2. How stable is your vision prior to LASIK?

No matter what your age is, it's important for your eyesight to have stabilised for at least a year before you have laser surgery.

3. What is your current eye prescription?

In terms of refraction (i.e. spectacle degree), the main limitation to LASIK is the patient's cornea thickness. This means that even patients who have high myopia or astigmatism can undergo LASIK as long as their cornea is sufficiently thick. However, it is generally accepted that the results for LASIK in patients with very high refractive error, i.e. myopia of more than 1,000 degrees, hyperopia of more than 400 degrees and astigmatism of more than 400 degrees, are less predictable and less satisfactory, says Dr Mohamad Rosman Bin Othman, Consultant, Refractive Surgery Service, Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), a member of the SingHealth group.

4. Do you have any eye disease?

There are quite a few eye conditions that need to be screened for, before LASIK surgery. Your doctor will check if you suffer, among other things, from:

  • Ocular herpes
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal detachment
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Keratoconus (a progressive thinning of the cornea)

5. Do you have any medical condition?

  • Autoimmune diseases, such as:
    • Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or multiple sclerosis
    • Are generally considered a contraindication for LASIK, as they might prompt an unexpected response to the laser surgery
  • Other conditions such as Type 2 diabetes
    • Do not necessarily mean the surgeon will turn you away
    • However, they need to be well controlled, to ensure a favourable healing situation
  • Similarly, some drugs, like accutane or steroids
    • May compromise post-op recovery
    • Tell your doctor about any and all medications you're taking

Click to next page for more questions to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery.

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