Understanding LASIK Prescription Limits and Your Treatment Options

Sub Title

eyeglasses with brown frames and open book
by Dougherty Laser Vision

Many people with vision prescriptions wonder if this will render them ineligible for LASIK procedures. What follows is more information that reveals and clarifies some misconceptions and provides more information about your options.

What Are LASIK Prescription Limits and Requirements?

Although this surgery can be very successful for the vast majority of patients, factors including the following can affect your candidacy for LASIK:

  • Dry eyes
  • A non-stable prescription
  • Conditions affecting eye health like glaucoma and cataracts
  • Thin cornea
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Diabetes
  • Large pupil size
  • Age
  • Pregnancy

Of course, the above list is by no means exhaustive; many things can render a person ineligible for LASIK. In order to determine these, a thorough eye exam should be conducted by an eye specialist.

Options for People with Low Prescriptions

Those with low prescriptions often assume they can’t get LASIK, but a low prescription (measured in diopters) doesn’t render you ineligible. In fact, if your prescription is low, it’s up to you whether or not you get LASIK.

For example, if you wear contacts or glasses and don’t want them anymore, LASIK can correct refractive errors in the eye. If you’re satisfied with your current visual acuity and don’t wear glasses or contacts, then no surgery is needed.

Options for People with High Prescriptions

Thanks to modern technology, it’s possible to use LASIK to correct virtually any prescription, even those that are extremely high. However, there are also some cases where lens surgery, also called IOL (intraocular lenses) or ICL (implantable contact lens), is a better alternative than laser vision correction.

In fact, we had one case where an out-of-country patient had been told by surgeons in their country that nothing could be done to correct their vision beyond contact lenses. This option was ineffective for this patient, who had unusually steep corneas on which the lenses continually slipped.

However, after administering ICL surgery on this patient, they experienced better sight in each eye than contact or glasses could ever help them achieve.

Another patient with a single eye that had a negative diopter prescription of -27.00 and a cataract would not have qualified for LASIK. The IOL procedure we performed was able to provide the vision correction needed.

We performed ICL surgery at the same time to insert a permanent contact lens, with a strength not available from any traditional contact lens manufacturer, into the patient’s eye. Through the combination of these two options, the patient was able to correct their vision.

Do I Qualify for LASIK?

If you want to improve your quality of life, make it easier to perform daily tasks and finally be freed from wearing glasses or contact lenses, LASIK eye surgery may be an option for you.

doctor using virtual reality glasses

The only way to know if you’re an ideal candidate is to get evaluated by a board-certified ophthalmologist. This is because some medical conditions can cause side effects that interfere with healing from laser eye surgery.

Remember, even if you’re not within a treatable range for LASIK, there are other options. We are the office staff of local LASIK surgeon Dr. Paul Dougherty, and he has performed over 30,000 procedures at Dougherty Laser Vision.

When you schedule your free consultation with him, he will conduct a thorough review of your health and medical information, followed by a comprehensive eye examination to reveal the best vision correction option for you. To get started, just call our eye center at (805) 987-5300 today. If you’re unsure if you’re eligible for laser eye surgery, take our LASIK self test to find out more.