8 Reasons Lasik Eye Surgery Might Not Be Right for You

Not everyone is a good candidate for Lasik eye surgery. Several conditions may disqualify you from the procedure, such as having an autoimmune disease that causes dry eyes, which may not heal well from surgery. Other conditions, including diabetes and glaucoma, can affect Lasik results, as well.

This article goes over the top eight reasons Lasik eye surgery may not be right for you.


You Are Younger Than 18 Years Old

patient and doctor Preparing for LASIK eye surgery
Sean Locke/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Lasik results are permanent. However, a person's eye can change throughout life. Little is known about how vision changes in a child's eyes and what influences those changes. Vision can change dramatically during the adolescent years. For this reason, results of Lasik may be temporary or unpredictable. Lasik is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18.


You Are Pregnant or Nursing

Having Lasik just before or after pregnancy is not recommended. Hormone fluctuations and perhaps fluid retention can cause changes to a woman's vision corrective prescription during pregnancy. She may become more nearsighted or develop a bit of astigmatism during pregnancy. Hormone changes can lead to dry eyes during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Dry eyes may make her eyes uncomfortable and could delay healing. In addition, to undergo Lasik, the eyes must be dilated. The medications administered for dilation and after Lasik surgery could be absorbed through mucous membranes, which could be harmful the fetus.


You Are Taking Prescription Drugs

Certain prescription drugs can interfere with Lasik results. For example, some steroids may delay healing and decrease best-corrected vision. Acne medications can cause significant dry eye. Having dry eyes can increase the chance of cornea scarring after Lasik. Your healthcare provider will know if the prescription drugs you are currently taking are acceptable.


Your Vision Is Not Stable

You are not a good Lasik candidate if your contact lens or glasses prescription is fluctuating. Most healthcare providers prefer your prescription to be stable for longer than one year. However, one year is a minimum. Prescriptions can fluctuate for a variety of reasons. Contact lens wear, diabetic blood sugar changes, and normal aging changes can cause your prescription to change over time. Lasik is a permanent procedure. It makes sense to make sure your prescription is stable before having Lasik eye surgery.


You Are Not in Good General Health

Certain medical conditions can affect the way your body heals after surgery. Patients with autoimmune diseases are not good Lasik candidates. Many autoimmune conditions cause dry eye syndrome. A dry eye may not heal well and has a higher risk of post-Lasik infection. Other conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, or cataracts often affect Lasik results. You should have had no eye infections or injuries within the past year prior to undergoing Lasik. Infection and injury can leave behind corneal scarring that may have detrimental effects.


You Have Dry Eye Syndrome

Having dry eye syndrome is usually a disqualifier for Lasik. A person with dry eyes has an increased risk for significant post-Lasik discomfort and a possible worsening of dry eye symptoms. Having dry eyes can also delay proper healing. This is not to say that a person with dry eyes cannot have Lasik. Your healthcare provider will examine you to determine the severity of your dry eye condition. Sometimes patients are placed on special dry eye medications before Lasik eye surgery. Certain procedures, such as ​punctal occlusion, may be performed to help the dry eye condition and minimize unwanted symptoms.


You Have Unrealistic Expectations

You should not expect perfect vision following Lasik. Many Lasik advertisements are misleading to people considering laser vision correction, often promising an end to wearing glasses or contact lenses. While most patients who undergo Lasik have excellent outcomes, you should not expect perfect vision. Every patient heals differently after surgery. After undergoing Lasik, there is always a possibility that you may need to wear reading glasses or corrective lenses for at least some activities, especially at night. If you expect perfection, you should reconsider having Lasik.


Your Pupils Dilate More Than 7 Millimeters in the Dark

During Lasik, the area of the eye that will be lasered should only be 6 mm in diameter. This is true with most lasers used during Lasik. If your pupil normally dilates to 7 or 8 mm in the dark, you will probably have unwanted glare, halos or starbursts around lights at nighttime. This is becoming less and less of a side effect, however, because newer lasers have treatment zones larger than 7 mm. Ask your Lasik surgeon which type of laser he uses and how large of a zone he or she can treat. Special pupillary testing is usually done as a part of the pre-Lasik measurements.


A Note of Caution

It should be noted that patients with extreme levels of myopia and corneal thinning, or keratoconus, may not be LASIK candidates. You should be thoroughly evaluated by an ophthalmologist to rule out these conditions prior to proceeding with corneal surgery.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. When is LASIK not for me?

  2. Naderan M. Ocular changes during pregnancy. J Curr Ophthalmol. 2018;30(3):202-210. doi:10.1016/j.joco.2017.11.012

  3. Steinert RF, McColgin AZ. Surface Ablation: Photorefractive Keratectomy, LASEK, Epi-LASIK, and Epi-LASEK.

By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.