The LASIK Screening Process: What to Expect

LASIK Screening Process - El Paso, TX

Mar 30, 2015 @ 12:44 PM — by Paul S. Gulbas, M.D
Tagged with: Lasik | Eye Care |

Close-up photograph of an eye with a white ring of light around the pupilIf you suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, LASIK eye surgery, or laser in-situ keratomileusis, may be able to correct and clarify your vision. During this procedure, Dr. Gulbas or Dr. Gallardo will use a precise, powerful laser to adjust the structure of your cornea so light can properly pass through it. LASIK is one of the most common refractive eye surgeries performed in the United States because it can quickly and effectively repair your vision with minimal downtime. Many patients want to eliminate or reduce their dependency on glasses and contact lenses, but LASIK surgery is not appropriate for everyone. Read on to learn more about our LASIK screening process, and contact our El Paso practice find out if this surgery may benefit you.   

Why Is Screening Important?

Patients wishing to undergo LASIK surgery must go through our comprehensive screening process to qualify for the procedure. This allows our ophthalmologists to better understand your ocular structure, determine if you suffer from any conditions that would make LASIK unsafe for you, explain your potential risks and complications, and create a treatment plan that suits your needs and preferences. While LASIK is typically a safe surgery and can be performed on an outpatient basis (meaning you can return home the day of your treatment), taking this procedure seriously can help ensure your safety and provide outstanding outcomes.

Your Consultation

As part of your LASIK screening, Dr. Gulbas or Dr. Gallardo will discuss your ocular history with you. He will most likely ask you:

  • How long have you been wearing glasses or contact lenses?
  • What is your glasses or contact lenses prescription?
  • Has your eyesight or optometric prescription changed in the last two years?
  • How does your vision affect your ability to work and perform daily activities?
  • Have you suffered from any ocular diseases or disorders?
  • Have you undergone any prior eye surgeries or treatments?
  • Do you suffer from diabetes or any other chronic conditions that may weaken your immune system?
  • Are you currently or do you plan to become pregnant?
  • What are your expectations for the results of LASIK?
  • Do you currently take any antihistamines or steroid drugs?
  • Do you currently smoke?

Providing honest, accurate answers to these questions allows Dr. Gulbas and Dr. Gallardo to determine if LASIK may be right for you. They may also make recommendations based on your responses. For example, pregnant women will want to delay LASIK and smokers may need to stop smoking for a prescribed amount of time before and after surgery.

Eye Examinations

You will need to undergo a series of diagnostic tests to determine if LASIK may be an appropriate treatment for you. These include:

  • Optometric analysis. We will evaluate your eyes’ refractive error so we can more accurately plan your surgery. 
  • Dry eye examination. LASIK can exacerbate dry eyes, so we will test for this condition by measuring your tear volume using thin paper strips or staining eye drops.
  • Corneal topography. This procedure maps the structure of your corneas so our ophthalmologists can look for tears, scarring, or corneal diseases that could disqualify you from being a good LASIK candidate.
  • Keratometry. This measures your corneal shape for surgical planning.
  • Pupil size measurement. We can use a special device to determine the size of your pupils. Patients with larger pupils may be at higher risk for light sensitivity and other side effects after LASIK.
  • Eyelid assessment. Your eyelids should be free of infection or structural abnormalities (for example, they may turn inward and irritate your cornea).
  • Pachymetry. This tests your corneal thickness. Patients with very thin corneas cannot undergo LASIK.
  • Intraocular pressure measurement. This tests for an ocular disorder called glaucoma that would make you ineligible for surgery.
  • Cataract testing. Clouding in your lenses would also disqualify you for LASIK.
  • Dilation examination. Dilating your eyes allows Dr. Gulbas and Dr. Gallardo to get a better look at your eye’s internal structure to check for any abnormalities.

We may recommend additional screening tests based on the results of your examinations to firmly establish whether or not you are a good candidate for LASIK.

Learn More about LASIK Surgery

If you’d like to clarify your vision with LASIK, contact our office today for a screening appointment. We look forward to meeting you and helping you improve your vision.