Laser Eye Surgery - Am I a good candidate?

If you’ve had enough of wearing glasses or contact lenses and have found yourself reading this, then you’re probably wondering if your eyes are suitable for Laser Eye Surgery.

If you’ve had enough of wearing glasses or contact lenses and have found yourself reading this, then you’re probably wondering if your eyes are suitable for Laser Eye Surgery.

Laser eye surgery is most suitable for people who have a moderate degree of refractive error and no unusual visual problems.

Understanding your refractive error

Normally images are focused on the retina at the back of your eye. With nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism the images are focused elsewhere off the retina resulting in blurred vision. Diopter (D) is the unit used to measure the correction required for the cornea and the lens to refract (bend) light rays directly to the back of the eye, or specifically to the retina.

Whether your prescription is suitable for Laser Eye Surgery also depends upon the shape and thickness of your corneas.

Nearsightedness (Myopia) is when you see nearby objects clearly, but distant objects are blurry. This is because either your eyeball is slightly longer than normal or your cornea curves too sharply, causing the light rays to focus in front of the retina and blur your distant vision.

Up to -10 diopters of nearsightedness is the recommended limit for laser eye surgery.

Farsightedness (Hyperopia) is when you see distant objects clearly, but near objects are blurry. This is because you either have a shorter than normal eyeball or your cornea is too flat, causing light to focus behind the retina and blur your near vision and sometimes distant vision too.

Up to +4 diopters of farsightedness is the recommended limit for laser eye surgery.

Astigmatism causes overall blurry vision. This is because the cornea curves or flattens unevenly disrupting the focus of near and distant vision. The majority of prescriptions with astigmatism can be treated.

Is your eye prescription stable?

Your eye’s prescription should be stable for at least 12 months before you consider Laser Eye Surgery.

Are your eyes healthy?

Your ophthalmologist will assess and ask for details about your general eye health to make sure that you don’t have any eye conditions that might cause delayed healing or a poor outcome from surgery.

Eye conditions that could affect someone’s choice to undergo laser eye surgery include:

- keratoconus, an eye disease that has progressive deterioration of your vision due to thinning of the cornea and is not suitable for Laser Eye Surgery

- glaucoma, the surgical procedure can raise your intraocular pressure which can make your glaucoma worse

- cataracts

- keratitis, uveiitis, herpes simplex affecting the eye area, and any other eye infections

- previous eye injury

- dry eyes; LASIK may make this condition worse

- having very high levels of refractive error. (>-10.0D and > +4.0D)

Are you generally healthy?

Some medical conditions can affect your body’s ability to heal or make you more prone to developing an infection. This increases the risks of having Laser Eye Surgery or can make your outcome a little bit less predictable.

- autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus

- immunosuppressive medication

- uncontrolled diabetes

- sometimes chronic pain conditions, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia - if you have any of these conditions it is worth talking this through with your surgeon as you may benefit from a little more assistance with postoperative pain management

- pregnancy may cause fluctuations in your vision, and it is best to hold off on elective surgery and the post operative medication eye drops until you will no longer pass these on to your child. Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can also trigger dry eye symptoms.

Are you old enough?

You must be over the age of 18 years and it is advised to wait until your 21st birthday before considering Laser Eye Surgery. This is because your vision may continue to change up until that age.

Can your eyes be too ‘bad’ to have laser eye surgery?

As long as you have a healthy cornea of normal thickness, you can have a prescription of up to -10.0D and still have LASIK. People who have a higher diopter may like to consider another refractive surgery procedure that involves placing an artificial lens inside the eye, such as STAAR phakic IOL implants or refractive lens exchange.

What does the suitability assessment involve?

Knowing your eyes and your expectations from Laser Eye Surgery in fine detail achieves greater results. At your suitability assessment Dr Reece Hall will help you identify any concerns, answer any questions and put your mind at ease. He will do a number of scans using different technology - measuring the exact geometry of your cornea as well as its thickness in 3D and the tiny, unique imperfections in the way your eye focuses light. You will have an extensive eye exam sometimes with anaesthetic numbing eye drops that will be used so he can complete the ophthalmic exam gathering more details about your eyes. These will wear off in about 20 minutes and you’ll be able to drive home from your appointment.

What are your expectations from Laser Eye Surgery?

Most people who have Laser Eye Surgery will have excellent vision for many decades without the need for glasses or contact lenses. The majority of people wake the next morning able to see clearly. We often hear feedback on how life changing it is - able to swim and play sport, drive, go to a movie, read the menu in a restaurant - all without thinking about finding their glasses or wearing contact lenses.  However, some people who have a high refractive error may still require a pair of glasses for reading or driving. It is important to have this discussion with your surgeon so that you have realistic expectations of how Laser Eye Surgery can benefit you. If your eyesight is naturally deteriorating due to age (presbyopia) Dr Reece Hall will discuss the option of laser blended vision with you. Dr Reece Hall can help you understand the benefits and limitations of surgery and in some cases there are other vision correction options that are more suitable and available.

Do you understand the risks or complications associated with Laser Eye Surgery?

Over correction or under correction of your eyesight resulting in still requiring a pair of glasses for driving is the most common risk, although this is low. About 3% of people may choose to have an enhancement procedure at around 3 months to correct this. Most other rare complications can be avoided and managed with medicated eye drops.

Are you comfortable asking your surgeon any questions, no matter how small they may seem, as you go through the process?

A good surgeon will talk you through each step of the procedure. This starts at the pre-assessment consultation. It is important to understand what your visual outcome will be after Laser Eye Surgery. Being able to sit down and talk with your surgeon in a comfortable setting that you trust is paramount to feeling confident with choosing both your surgeon and the facility.

How do you choose your eye surgeon?

At Bowen Eye Clinic we believe in continuity of care. Dr Reece Hall takes the ultimate responsibility for determining whether Laser Eye Surgery is the right procedure for you. At all of your appointments from the initial prescreening suitability assessment, planning your individual prescription measurements to guide the procedure, performing the laser procedure and providing your post operative appointments - you will see and get to know Dr Reece Hall . Our knowledgable ophthalmic technicians will guide you through each step should you have any questions at any time.

Bowen Eye Clinic was established in 2014, it is a purpose-built modern day surgery facility offering the latest and newest diagnostic equipment to give you the best visual results for your vision. The Bowen Eye Clinic uses the latest FDA approved Femtosecond and Excimer lasers.

To find out if your prescription and general eye health make you a suitable laser eye surgery candidate schedule a free no obligation assessment with Dr Reece Hall, Bowen Eye Clinic 0800 69 2020 or email