Am I a Candidate for LASIK?

LASIK is a type of laser eye surgery that can replace the need to constantly wear glasses or contact lenses, however it is very important to find out if it’s the right option for you because not everyone is eligible for this procedure.

Am I a Candidate for LASIK? in Olympia

A certain type of laser eye surgery, known as LASIK, could be a wonderful alternative for people who constantly need to wear glasses or contact lenses. That being said, not everyone is a suitable candidate for this procedure and therefore before going through with the surgery there are certain qualifications that must be checked. If you book an appointment to find out if LASIK surgery is for you, you will be asked for a very detailed medical history and you will receive a comprehensive eye exam which includes all sorts of measurements to make sure that you qualify. The surgeon and professional staff will discuss with you all of the factors, the risks of complications and will set the proper expectations with you. Together you can determine if LASIK is the right choice for you.

American Family Vision Clinic

Suitable LASIK Candidate

The overall qualifications for a person to be able to get LASIK include:

  • Over age 18
  • Stable vision for at least the previous year
  • Stable glasses and contact lens prescription for at least the previous year
  • Thick enough cornea which will be measured
  • An optical prescription that falls under certain limits which the surgeon will identify
  • No active issues with the cornea
  • No significant eye conditions 
  • No dry eye issues
  • Not pregnant or nursing

In addition to all of these conditions, the candidate must accept realistic expectations that despite going through laser eye surgery, wearing glasses may still be necessary in certain situations like driving at night. Also, a person who actively participates in contact sports may not be a good candidate if they are prone to receiving frequent blows to the face. Another factor that must be considered is the cost for surgery and if it fits in your budget.

Eye Qualifications

People who are mildly nearsighted tend to have the best success rates with refractive surgery such as LASIK.

There are a variety of eye conditions that can be contraindications for LASIK surgery as it can cause many complications. These include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Keratoconus - a progressive disease the causes the cornea to become thin resulting in a decrease of vision quality
  • Various eye infections affecting different parts of the eye including keratitis, uveitis, herpes simplex
  • Eye injuries
  • Issues with the eyelids
  • Large pupils
  • Glaucoma 
  • Cataracts
Eye Qualifications
Health Conditions

Health Conditions

There are certain health considerations that must be taken into account, even if they do not seem directly related to your eyes. The surgeon will ask you details about your overall health as certain conditions can make the outcome of LASIK surgery less predictable and thus must be considered. Some health issues include:

  • Any autoimmune disorders or conditions that make healing more difficult or increase the chance of infection such as rheumatoid arthritis or HIV
  • Taking immunosuppressive medications for any reason
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic pain conditions such as migraines or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Depression 

The above health issues could increase the risk of complications and the chance of having a difficult healing process. If you have any of these health conditions, please discuss it with the surgeon to decide if you can get LASIK.

Health Conditions

Alternatives to LASIK

LASIK is a popular option for those looking to reduce their dependence on glasses or contact lenses, however it’s important to know that there are many alternatives to this type of surgery. Each method of surgery comes with its own risks and benefits and it’s important to consult with your eye doctor to figure out the best option for you. Other refractive surgical procedures include photorefractive keratometry (PRK), laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK), small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE), and phakic intraocular lens.


Another alternative to LASIK which does not involve surgery and is reversible, is a very special type of contact lens called orthokeratology, otherwise known as Ortho-K. This method uses contact lenses that are only worn each night, at which time it reshapes the cornea, so that when waking up in the morning, these contact lenses are removed and the person can spend the day seeing with very clear eyesight and without any glasses or contact lenses. Please schedule an appointment at our office to discuss Ortho-K and the various laser eye surgery methods. Our eye doctor will be glad to go through the options with you to figure out which one best suits your needs.

Common Questions

LASIK is performed as a refractive surgery to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and/ or astigmatism. After LASIK is performed, people who previously needed to wear glasses or contact lenses frequently will be able to see in certain conditions without glasses or contact lenses. Nearsightedness allows for clear vision at near, but viewing objects at a distance is unclear. People who are farsighted can see well at a distance but have difficulty seeing objects from closeby. Astigmatism causes blurry vision due to the shape or size of the cornea. A cornea that has uneven curvature results in astigmatism. The best results of LASIK tend to be for those who have mild nearsightedness.
The success rate for LASIK is very high, however it is still important to be aware of the rare possible side effects. Common side effects include dry eyes and visual disturbances, but for most people these go away after a few weeks or months so they are not considered to be long term issues. The possible side effects include: Dry eyes, Glare, Halos, Double vision, Under or overcorrection, Infection. If you are considering LASIK, the surgeon and professional team will properly discuss with you the risks involved.
Am I a Candidate for LASIK?
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


A certain type of laser eye surgery, known as LASIK, is an elective surgery which changes the shape and curvature of the front part of your eye in order to replace the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. For many who wear glasses or contact lenses, this is an exciting alternative. However, not every person is qualified or suitable for this type of surgery. It is very important to understand the necessary factors which make this a viable option.

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400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 459-1097
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