Am I a Candidate for LASIK?


As laser vision correction gains popularity, so does the misconception that qualifying for surgery is a simple matter for anyone who wears contact lenses or glasses. In reality, a large number of occupational, psychological, medical and ocular issues can lead to disqualification.

Job related concerns: Individuals whose careers demand exceptionally clear vision should exercise caution with laser vision correction because it is impossible to guarantee adequate postoperative vision. Airline pilots are often cited for this concern, but other civil and military occupations demand caution, too.

With respect to the military, the government's position has changed dramatically over the years. In the early days, many military personnel were banned from undergoing laser vision correction due to concerns that the quality of vision would not be sufficient for the battlefield. However, in more recent years, particularly with the advent of custom wavefront-guided treatments, soldiers have often been encouraged to have surgery because the quality of vision is high and spectacle independence is considered a battlefield advantage.

While most soldiers can now have laser vision correction, the procedures allowed for each branch of service vary considerably. For example, some only allow flapless procedures, and some require PRK, not other flapless procedures such as LASEK or Epi-LASIK. Therefore, it is essential to understand very precisely which procedures are allowed and communicate this information to the surgeon.

High trauma risk patients: Martial arts enthusiasts, police officers, prison guards and other individuals who engage in activities with a high likelihood of ocular trauma can still have laser vision correction, but careful consideration should be given to having a flapless procedure because a flap can be dislodged or damaged even years after surgery if the eye is exposed to extreme trauma.

Not a risk taker: Today's laser vision correction procedures are safer and more effective than those available just a few years back. However, all surgical procedures carry a certain risk, so those who seek a preoperative promise of perfection still cannot be accommodated.

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