Does My Eyeglass Prescription Qualify For LASIK?
During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will determine how much nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and/or astigmatism you have and write an eyeglass prescription that specifies the lens powers required to correct these refractive errors.
Whether your eyeglass prescription qualifies for LASIK depends on several factors, including the shape and thickness of your corneas. Other factors include the brand of laser your LASIK surgeon uses and the specific type of LASIK technology and treatment parameters recommended for your procedure.
In general, excimer lasers that are FDA-approved for LASIK surgery performed in the United States can correct up to approximately -11.00 diopters (D) of nearsightedness, up to +5.00 D of farsightedness, and up to 5.00 D of astigmatism.
For high amounts of refractive error, it's important to understand that there can be an increased risk of visual side effects like nighttime glare, halos and other possible problems. It is important to discuss this with your surgeon during your preoperative consultation — especially if you have more than -8.00 D of myopia or more than +4.00 D of hyperopia.
During your LASIK consultation, your refractive surgeon will explain the best procedure for your needs and discuss whether your prescription is within the recommended treatment range for LASIK. If your prescription is too high for LASIK, other vision correction procedures such as phakic IOL implants or refractive lens exchange might be good alternatives.
About the Author: Vance Thompson, MD, FACS, is the director of refractive surgery at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also is professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine, a leading researcher in technologies for laser and implant vision correction and a member of All About Vision's editorial advisory board.
Page updated March 2018