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Would I be a Good Candidate for Laser Vision Correction?

Refractive laser correctionA laser correction is the permanent reshaping of a cornea with a deficient curvature by laser to improve vision. See Laser Vision – About Laser Vision Correction.s have given clear vision to over 20 million people worldwide, but unfortunately not everyone is automatically a candidate for laser treatment.  Before proceeding with laser treatment, it is extremely important to Dr Potgieter, who has many years of experience in this field, to first thoroughly examine your eyes so that any contra-indications may be identified.  At the same time, he can determine which type of laser correction is best suited to your particular needs if you do qualify.

The modern diagnostic equipmentDiagnostic equipment is used to determine the root cause of eye problems so that the correct treatment may be applied. A variety of such devices are used at Optimed to very accurately diagnose a wide spectrum of eye problems. See About Us – Our Technology. at Optimed can detect and measure obvious, as well as latent and hidden defects accurately with sub-micron accuracy.

  • To qualify for a refractive laser treatment, you need to be nearsighted, farsighted, and/or have astigmatismAstigmatism is a condition caused by a cornea that has more than one curvature, similar to a rugby ball. The same image, therefore, focuses on multiple points in front of, on and/or behind the cornea, creating multiple and ghost images. Astigmatism may also be found in association with either myopia or hyperopia, which complicates the condition substantially. See Info on Eyes, Optics and Refractive Errors - Astigmatism..
  • Be at least 20 years of age (there is no upper age restriction).
  • Be in good health.
  • Have no significant eye problems or health issues that may affect your eyes.
  • Have no or insignificant change in your spectacle error over the past two years.
  • Currently wear glasses or contact lenses, but for professional, sport and/or social considerations you would prefer to do without them.
  • Have an optical correction, but glasses or contact lenses are inappropriate or unsuitable for your type of work, your work environment or the type of sport you play.
  • Be fully informed of the benefits and possible complications of the proposed procedure.
  • Be aware of the cost of the surgery, as your medical insurance does not necessarily cover the expense.
  • Make an appointment at Optimed for a comprehensive eye evaluation to identify possible conditions that might contra-indicate refractive surgery.

Apart from the above factors, Dr Potgieter must also be made aware of the following:

  • Potential pathology of your corneaThe cornea is the clear, transparent 'front window' of the eye through which light enters the eye. It handles about two-thirds of the focusing power of the eye and is critical for good vision. See Info on Eyes – Anatomy. (e.g. whether you have adverse eye conditions such as keratoconusKeratoconus is an eye condition that causes the cornea to spontaneously bulge outward, like the tip of a rugby ball. It causes very high levels of myopia and astigmatism. See Eye Diseases – Keratoconus.).
  • To what degree your cornea requires a change in shape.
  • The thickness of your cornea (for LasikLasik is one of several types of laser treatments to permanently correct refractive errors of the eye. See Laser Vision – Introduction to Laser Treatment. it has to be at least 470 microns or 0.47 mm thick).
  • The severity of the refractive error(s) to be corrected.
  • If you are of the fairer sex, whether you are currently subject to hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or nursing a baby.
  • Whether you have systemic auto-immune diseasesA group of diseases where the body's defence mechanism (immune system) attacks various target tissues in the body, causing deficiencies of those tissues., infectionsInfections may be caused by bacteria, viral or fungal agents that penetrate and affect any part of the body, including the eyes. Treatment of an infection depends on the source and nature of the agent that caused it., amblyopiaAmblyopia is commonly known as 'lazy eye'. The eye appears healthy, but visual images are not properly recognized. It is the consequence of a developmental abnormality in the visual cortex of the brain, caused by suboptimal stimulation of the retina due to poor image projection onto it. Causes for this include a high uncorrected refractive error, a large difference in refractive powers of the eyes, an opacity in the optical system of the eye, or even a crossed-eye. Amblyopia should be treated before the age of seven to avoid permanent vision development problems., dry eye syndromeTears serve as a protective coating for the eyes. They keep the eyes moist, provide essential nutrients and wash away dust and other particles. When the eyes do not produce enough or the right quality of tears, which lead to changes to the surface of the eye, it is known as 'dry eye syndrome'., a fluctuating refractive errorAn eye has a refractive error when it is unable to clearly focus distant objects on the retina. If the error is not consistent and varies over time, it is known as a 'fluctuating refractive error'. and/or diabetes mellitusDiabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which the ability to process glucose is impaired. If left untreated, diabetes can cause a host of long-term complications, including damage to the retina..

Therefore, prior to answering the question above, Dr Potgieter will perform a thorough evaluation to make sure that you  qualify for laser eye surgery.  Since each set of eyes is unique, there is no way to actually determine your candidacy for laser surgery until you have had your pre-operative evaluation.  It involves a series of diagnostic tests, which may include some or all of the following items:

  • A full review of the overall health of your eyes.
  • The measurement of corneal thicknessOn average, a normal cornea is roughly 500 microns (0.5mm) thick. A minimum corneal thickness is required for various corrective laser treatments and surgical procedures. See Laser Vision - About Laser Vision Correction. and shape, including corneal topographyTopography is the term used to describe the surface characteristics of an object. Corneal topography describes the 'hills and valleys' characteristics on the surface of a cornea..
  • A complete review of your glasses and contact lens history.
  • The measurement of your prescription and refractive error in each eye.
  • Dilation of the eyes to check the health of the retinaThe retina is the receptor of light at the back of the eye. It fulfils the same function as the film in a film camera or the image sensor in a digital camera. The retina translates the images into electrical signals that are sent via the optic nerve to the visual cortex in the brain, where it is interpreted as the images we see. See Info on Eyes – Anatomy. and optic nerveThe optic nerve transmits the visual signals from the retina to the visual cortex in the brain, where it is interpreted as the images we see. See Info on Eyes – Anatomy..  It also helps to determine the actual absolute power of the eye.
  • Custom measurement for higher order aberrationsA simple aberration is a distortion of an image caused by a lens and/or cornea, which could result in myopia or hyperopia. Higher order aberrations result from more complex distortions of the images due to multiple imperfections in the optical system of the eye..
  • Dry eye test.
  • Measurement of pupil sizeThe pupil is the black, usually circular spot in the centre of the eye through which light enters the eye. Its size is regulated by the iris and depends on the amount of light that is present – the more light, the smaller the pupil size and the less light, the larger the pupil size. See Info on Eyes – Anatomy. in a very dark room.
  • Endothelial cell count.

Once he has completed your pre-operative evaluation, Dr Potgieter will determine whether you are a suitable candidate for a laser vision correctionLaser vision correction is a technique that has the ability to permanently correct refractive errors of the cornea by means of a laser treatment. Several types of laser vision correction treatments are available. See Laser Vision – Introduction to Laser Vision Correction. procedure.
If you feel that you meet the requirements and are interested in setting up an appointment to learn more about the different procedures, please contact us today!  You may also call us at 012 333-1111.

To get an indication of whether you may qualify for Laser vision correction, you can perform a quick self-diagnosis by doing the Self-evaluation Test.