When LASIK is Not the Best Option

Millions of people undergo refractive surgeries such as LASIK and PRK each year, making it one of the most popular surgical procedures performed in the U.S. There are certain people, however, who should stick with glasses and contact lenses due to the increased risk of complications that could arise from having refractive surgery. Here are the top five.

Vision Goals

If your goal is to have perfect vision, LASIK may not be the best option for you. It is impossible to guarantee LASIK outcomes and results can vary by patient. It is important for those considering LASIK to have realistic expectations. Your LASIK surgeon should be able to provide you with reasonable expectations with regard to post operative outcomes. However, there are no guarantees.

Refractive Instability

If your vision has changed more than 0.50 diopters in the past year, you have refractive instability. LASIK should not be performed when your vision is unstable because the goal of the procedure is to remove refractive error. If your vision is changing when LASIK is performed, there is a significant risk of over or under-correction. Refractive instability occurs in patients who:

  • Are pregnant or Breastfeeding – the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and breast feeding cause the vision to fluctuate. Pregnancy and breastfeeding should stop 3 months prior to having LASIK to ensure the eyes have time to stabilize,
  • Are taking medications that cause vision fluctuation,
  • Have fluctuating blood sugar levels caused by diabetes – blood sugar levels should be stable prior to having LASIK because they can cause the vision to change.

Eye Disease

People with certain eye diseases should avoid having LASIK. These diseases include kerataconus, glaucoma, ocular hypertension, herpes simplex or herpes zoster in the eye area, uveitis and iritis (inflammation of the eye).

Auto-Immune Disease & Immunodeficiency States

For the best results possible, patients should be healthy and free of any conditions that can affect the ability to properly heal. Certain auto-immune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis as well as immunodeficiency states such as HIV may prevent the body from healing properly after refractive surgery. This also means that anyone taking medications that can affect healing such as certain steroids and retinoic acid should avoid having refractive sugery.


LASIK and other refractive surgeries are limited to those who are 18 years of age and older. This is because the young eye is still changing and the lasers used in refractive surgery are not approved for persons under 18. Vision typically stabilizes between the ages of 18-21. Routine eye exams will allow your doctor to monitor your vision for stability.

If you have been considering LASIK or any other refractive surgery and want to know if you are a candidate for the procedure, it is best to schedule a consultation with LASIK surgeon. For more information on refractive surgery, visit www.raleigheyecenterlasik.com.