Worried You're Too Near- Or Far-Sighted For Vision Correction Surgery? What Should You Know?

Posted on: 9 May 2017

If you've spent years longing for perfect vision each time you struggle to put in your contacts or bend or break your newest pair of glasses, you're not alone—the FDA estimates that more than half a million people undergo this procedure each year in pursuit of perfect or near-perfect vision. However, not every person with glasses or contacts is an ideal candidate for laser vision correction (often called Lasik), and pursuing vision correction if your eyes aren't up to the task could leave you dealing with major complications. Read on to learn more about what you'll need in order to be an ideal candidate for a Lasik procedure, as well as some of your vision correction alternatives if you're told Lasik isn't your best option.

What are the vision parameters for ideal Lasik candidates?

Lasik vision correction is performed by carefully reshaping the eye's cornea with a laser. Reshaping the cornea can essentially eliminate any nearsightedness or farsightedness by returning it to its natural shape, ideal for capturing images to send to the brain for processing.

However, those whose corneas are too thin (whether due to age, extremely poor vision, or a congenital structural issue) may not be great candidates for Lasik. Further reshaping an already-thin cornea could lead to other vision issues, like halos, night blindness, or even double vision. Even those who don't find themselves dealing with these side effects could discover that they still need glasses or contacts after the procedure, albeit at a lesser prescription.

Those whose contacts or glasses prescription is very high are at a greater risk of thinned-out corneas than those with a more moderate prescription, but there exists no hard-and-fast limit; to determine whether you're a good candidate for laser vision correction, you'll need to have your eyes physically examined by an ophthalmologist. 

Do you have any vision correction alternatives if Lasik isn't an option?

If you're informed that your corneas are too thin to permit Lasik surgery, there are still some options that won't leave you relegated to glasses or contacts for the rest of your life.

One popular alternative is an intraocular lens replacement. This essentially implants a permanent contact lens into your eye, where it can provide constant vision correction without requiring the cleaning and maintenance of removable contact lenses. After you've recovered from the implant procedure, you'll likely notice no greater (or lesser) difference between your old and new vision than you'd have experienced if you'd undergone Lasik instead.