Reasons Why LASIK Might Not Be Right for You

If glasses or contacts are part of your day-to-day routine in order to see well, you may have considered LASIK. LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a surgical procedure that corrects vision errors that occur in the cornea.

LASIK is an elective procedure, and while it is proven to be highly effective, it does come with some risk. This is to say that not everyone is an ideal candidate for LASIK surgery.

In fact, according to the American Refractive Surgery Council, about 15-20% of patients are considered ineligible for the surgery. The choice to undergo LASIK is a personal decision that you should make for yourself, in consult with your doctor.

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While every patient has a unique set of circumstances, here are 4 reasons why LASIK may not be right for you.


In order to be an optimal candidate for LASIK, it is important to make sure that your eyes have fully developed. LASIK is FDA-approved for people 18 and older who have achieved ocular maturity. This means that your eyeglass prescription has been stable for a year or more. For some people this doesn't happen until their mid-20s.

General Health

There are certain conditions, like autoimmune diseases or immunodeficiencies and diabetes, that may prevent proper healing after a refractive procedure. Some of these conditions include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV. Certain medications may make laser vision correction a risk, as well. Medications like certain acne medications or corticosteroids can also affect the healing process.


For certain professions it is important to have excellent vision. Be sure to check with your employer, military service, or professional society before undergoing LASIK. Laser vision correction procedures are popular with first responders, military personnel, including sharpshooters and naval aviators, and recently NASA has allowed astronauts to have LASIK.


Do you participate in any contact sports? Sports like boxing, wrestling, Mixed Martial Arts, or anything where your eyes are at risk of physical contact, may mean that LASIK isn’t right for you. However, your surgeon may recommend other laser vision correction procedures, such as PRK, that might better suit your needs.

Other things to consider

These physical conditions may mean that LASIK is not the right option for you. There are many alternatives to the LASIK procedure, however, which your doctor can discuss with you. Your doctor will conduct a thorough evaluation of your eyes and vision and discuss options if any of the following conditions present themselves in your exam:

  • Belpharitis. This is inflammation of the eyelids particularly along the lash line. It may increase the risk of infection after LASIK.
  • Large pupils. Young patients and patients on certain medications may have pupils that are larger than usual in dark conditions. LASIK may result in long-term issues like glare, halos, and double vision.
  • Thin corneas. The purpose of LASIK is to change the shape of the cornea. If there isn’t enough corneal tissue to perform LASIK, your doctor will discuss alternatives.
  • Previous refractive surgery. Have you had LASIK before? Perhaps you've had an alternative to LASIK like LASEK or PRK. If you've already had a procedure, it may not be recommended to undergo LASIK.
  • Untreated dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome is associated with inflammation which should be addressed and well managed before undergoing laser vision correction.

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