LASIK Candidacy – Diabetes

Designed to improve eyesight problems in patients with low to moderate vision problems, LASIK has positively affected the lives more than a million people in the United States. While LASIK is one of the most sought after medical procedures today, not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK surgery, including those with diabetes.

Those with diabetes typically have microvascular abnormalities that can lead to vision loss. Uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes can damage the small blood vessels of the retina, by causing fluid to leak from the blood vessels over the retina. These blood vessels are weak and thus can break easily and bleed, causing scar tissue to form that sets up the worse scenario – the retina pulls away from the back of the eye.

Diabetes Increases LASIK Complications

Statistically, only seven percent of LASIK patients have complications, but in those with diabetes, the number significantly increases to 47 percent. Therefore, eye surgeons use extra precautions in treating diabetic patients. Those with diabetes may face the following problems after LASIK procedures:
Visual changes due to poor blood glucose control – when a diabetic patient has a change in vision due to blood glucose spikes, a new eyeglass or contact lens prescription can be made, but not so with the LASIK procedure.
Poor healing of the cornea after surgery – abnormalities in the cornea from diabetes may lead to slow or imperfect healing after LASIK procedures that may last an extended period.
Retinopathy deterioration – LASIK may further damage the retina in diabetics that have diabetic retinopathy.
Complications with eye suction during surgery – during the LASIK procedure surgeons apply suction to the eye that will likely increase eye pressure – a potentially harmful situation for those diabetics with increased eye pressure.
If you have diabetes but would still like to have your eyes evaluated for the LASIK procedure, please contact an eye surgeon in your area. It may be possible to have this vision correction surgery if your diabetes is under control.