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Before you have LASIK, ask these questions

LASIK is one of the most popular elective surgeries in the United States with 95% of patients walking away satisfied with their vision, according to one FDA study. But like with any surgery, there are risks.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — LASIK is one of the most popular elective surgeries in the United States with 95% of patients walking away satisfied with their vision, according to one FDA study. But like with any surgery, there are risks.

“If you look at the patients who have unsatisfactory results, in all likelihood they shouldn't have had LASIK in the first place because they had something else wrong with the eye," Dr. Robert Schnipper said. "They were inappropriate candidates for LASIK."

Dr. Schnipper, an ophthalmologist at Jacksonville Eye Center, says he has performed thousands of LASIK eye surgeries. While he says complications are rare, not everyone is a good candidate.

“A good candidate for LASIK is somebody who is between the ages of, let's say 18 and maybe 50, who has no other significant abnormalities of the eye such as bad glaucoma, diabetes of the eye, etcetera, and whose corneas are thick enough and healthy enough," Dr. Schnipper said. "Generally, those are good candidates for LASIK."

The FDA says you're probably not a good candidate for LASIK if you required a change in your contact lens or glasses prescription in the past year, but talk to your doctor.

Dr. Schnipper says it’s important to ask your doctor these questions:

“Do I have dry eyes? Is my cornea thick enough? Is my corneal topography? Are these tests appropriate for LASIK? Do I have anything else wrong with my eyes? Make sure you don't have early cataracts. Make sure you don't have extremely dry eyes and other conditions that make you not a good candidate for LASIK.”

Dr. Schnipper says he personally screens all of his patients interested in LASIK to make sure they are a good candidate.

“If you're interested in LASIK, get an eye exam by a community LASIK surgeon, and get an eye exam by someone who's been doing LASIK in the community for a number of years who has a local reputation and has his reputation to guard,” said Dr. Schnipper.