A LASIK screening is much more than your eye doctor telling you that, based on your prescription, you are a good candidate for LASIK. Your prescription is only one of several important determining factors. I receive phone calls every day from people who tell me their eye doctor told them they are a candidate for LASIK and they do not need a LASIK screening. Their eye doctor had good intentions, but that’s not enough. Performing LASIK on a patient who does not have the required corneal properties can result in a life of complications.
LASIK screenings are used by the LASIK team to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK or another corneal refractive procedure, such as PRK. In other words, do the benefits outweigh any risks? Would it be safe for you to proceed? Are your expectations realistic? Does your health history indicate that you are a good candidate?
During a LASIK screening, which is typically free of charge, your eyes will be scanned using two separate instruments to determine topography and thickness of your corneas. These are called Orbscans and Wavescans. Your eyeglass prescription and contact lens wear will be evaluated to determine treatment options. Personal and family health histories will be discussed, along with any prescription medications currently being used. If you are a female expect to be asked about family planning, ages of your children and if you are pregnant or nursing.
The LASIK screening gives you the opportunity to learn about the various treatment options, discuss which type of treatment is being recommended, and answer any questions you may have. It is also the time for you to get a feel for the office. Is the staff friendly and courteous? Did they take time to answer questions, or did you feel rushed? Do you feel comfortable? Do they have your health and vision interests at heart?
During the LASIK screening, the doctor and LASIK coordinator will discuss traditional LASIK treatment versus Custom LASIK treatment; bladeless LASIK as compared to a bladed procedure; LASIK versus PRK. (NOTE: Some offices do not have you meet with a doctor who can discuss clinical findings. It is important that your screening involve a consultation with a doctor.) If you wear contact lenses, they will discuss the time period necessary and how to prepare for the LASIK procedure. A LASIK screening is used to gather information in order to determine if you are a good candidate for a LASIK procedure and to make appropriate recommendations.
Making assumptions about being a candidate for LASIK is not recommended. Keep in mind, not everyone is a candidate for LASIK. It is important that you receive an expert evaluation. If you are calling for information be sure to ask “Do you perform LASIK at your office?” If the answer is no, call another office. If the answer is that they co-manage with a surgeon outside of their office, call another office. Only offices that perform LASIK will have the instruments, knowledge and experience necessary to determine if you are a candidate.
Pricing, insurance discounts, and financing options will also be discussed during the LASIK screening. Prices do vary based on the type of LASIK procedure – traditional LASIK versus Custom LASIK; bladeless versus a bladed procedure; LASIK versus PRK and so forth. Some offices, but not all, offer insurance discounts. I use the term discounts, because very few insurance policies actually offer a paid benefit for LASIK. At our office we research insurance benefits at the time of the LASIK screening. HSA and Flex Savings Accounts can be used to pay for LASIK. There are also financing options available for LASIK, some of which offer 0% interest financing.
When scheduling a LASIK screening, plan on spending 30 to 45 minutes at the office. You do not want to rush through a screening. Remember, this is the important first step to determine if you are a candidate for LASIK. A thorough screening is the first step to making sure the outcome meets your expectations.
Check out our other LASIK blogs:
- LASIK: Eliminating Glare & Halos
- LASIK over 40
- PRK versus LASIK
- Monovision LASIK
- Custom LASIK
- Different Lasers
- Preparing for LASIK
- LASIK Recovery