When Is The Best Time To Get Laser Eye Surgery?

13 March 2024

By Author: Alex J Shortt

One of the most frequently asked questions from patients is when to get laser eye surgery. Whether you’re busy at work, rushed off your feet with the family, or keep finding something that gets in the way, it’s easy to make excuses and put off your surgery until another day.

Contrary to some of the misconceptions out there, laser eye surgery treatment and the recovery period are remarkably quick, so no matter how busy your lifestyle is, you’ll be back to normal in no time.

Upgrading your eyesight with laser eye surgery doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, apart from one or two distinct periods in life or certain conditions, it’s usually a good time to have laser eye surgery. Generally, the sooner you have laser eye surgery, the better, as you’ll have more time to enjoy the benefits!


When Can You Get Laser Eye Surgery?

If your eyesight is getting worse or you’re tired of changing glasses or putting in your lenses, this simple and permanent surgery could be the solution.

Suitability for laser eye surgery typically depends on several factors, including age, a stable vision prescription for at least a year, the absence of certain eye conditions like cataracts or glaucoma, and overall eye health. Generally, candidates should be of adult age, have healthy corneas with sufficient thickness, and have a stable prescription within the acceptable range for the procedure. A comprehensive eye examination by our ophthalmologists can determine your likely suitability for laser eye surgery, with considerations made for individual medical history and lifestyle factors.

Treatment takes as little as three to four minutes for each eye, and you can be in and out in the morning or afternoon. You’re not legally allowed to drive on the same day, so you’ll need some help getting home, but when you wake up in the morning, you’ll be fine to get behind the wheel. Most patients are back at work the next day.

Just because the word surgery is used, it’s easy to assume it involves time missed from work and weeks of bed-bound recovery. But the truth is very different. In fact, in the ten minutes after treatment, your eyes will already have started healing and will continue to improve for the next three to six months. In as little as a few days, you will start to notice the improvement.

When Not to Have Laser Eye Surgery 

There can be several reasons why someone might be unsuitable for laser eye surgery. If you’re unsure of your potential suitability, a free virtual consultation with one of our team members can help provide clarity.


If you’re pregnant

When considering laser eye surgery, it’s crucial to avoid medications that may interfere with the healing process or increase the risk of complications. For example, some medications, such as steroids or immunosuppressants, can affect the body’s ability to heal properly after surgery.

Additionally, hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to fluctuations in vision, making it difficult to assess the need for corrective surgery accurately.


If you’re breastfeeding

Undergoing laser eye surgery before pregnancy is advisable because hormonal changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding can also affect the stability of vision, potentially necessitating additional corrective procedures after childbirth. Therefore, it is generally recommended to postpone laser eye surgery until after pregnancy and breastfeeding to ensure optimal safety and efficacy.


When You’re Too Young

If you’re under the age of 18, then your eyes are still growing and developing, so it’s too soon for treatment. This is mainly because your prescription is unstable and can change while your eyes are growing.

Some people’s eyes still develop into their 20s, so here at Optegra, we recommend waiting until you’re at least 18 to have treatment. Your eyesight needs to have been stable for at least a year prior to surgery. Learn more about vision correction options for different age groups.


If you have dry eyes

One of the major side effects of laser eye surgery is dry eyes, the effects of which reduce in the weeks after surgery. In case you develop dry eyes following laser eye surgery, this can be easily treated via ocular lubricants.

However, if you’re already experiencing this, then it might not be the right time for treatment.


If You Have Cataracts or Glaucoma

Patients with cataracts and/or glaucoma are unsuitable candidates for laser eye surgery due to several reasons.

Cataracts cloud the natural lens of the eye, leading to decreased vision. Laser eye surgery, such as LASIK or PRK, reshapes the cornea to correct refractive errors like near-sightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Since cataracts affect the lens rather than the cornea, laser eye surgery isn’t effective for correcting vision in individuals with cataracts. Instead, cataract surgery involves replacing the clouded lens with an artificial intraocular lens.

Glaucoma, on the other hand, is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, causing sight loss, often due to increased pressure within the eye. Laser eye surgery can exacerbate this condition by increasing intraocular pressure, which can further damage the optic nerve and worsen glaucoma progression.

In both cases, individuals with cataracts or glaucoma need to consult with their ophthalmologist to determine the most appropriate treatment options for their specific eye conditions.


What’s Next? Book Your Free Consultation Today

If you’re considering laser eye surgery, book a free virtual consultation to discuss your suitability and options with one of our experts.


Alex Shortt Headshot

By Author: Alex J Shortt

Mr Shortt is a leading ophthalmic surgeon and an expert in the fields of cornea, cataract and refractive surgery.

Medically Reviewed Date: 13th March 2024


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