Can Diabetics Get Laser Eye Surgery?
More than 37.3 million people in the United States have diabetes, a condition that affects how your body breaks down and turns food into energy. There are two common types of diabetes: Type 1, a condition where the pancreas produces little to no insulin, and Type 2, a condition that affects how the body processes glucose (blood sugar).
- Type 1 diabetes, believed to be caused by the body having an autoimmune reaction, is usually diagnosed in young people and affects only 5-10 percent of all people who have diabetes.
- The other 90-95 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, which can sometimes be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle.
If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and are interested in trading your glasses or contacts for vision correction through LASIK, we advise you to first speak to your primary care doctors. Generally, diabetics can be candidates for laser eye surgery as long as:
- Your blood sugar levels are under control. Your LASIK surgeon will want to confirm that your A1c—a blood test that measures your blood sugar levels over a three-month period—is in the goal range, and that your care team feels that your blood sugars are well-managed. Why? When sugar levels fluctuate, so can your eye power. It is very important for your vision prescription to be stable: We typically want to see your glasses or contact lens’ prescription stay the same for 1-2 years prior to undergoing LASIK. High blood sugar levels can also affect your eyes’ ability to heal from the surgery, which is a concern.
- Diabetes has not yet affected your eyes. Some diabetics are affected by diabetic retinopathy, a condition caused by high blood sugar levels. LASIK cannot correct this kind of vision loss as it is caused by damage to the retina’s blood vessels—these are located in the back layer of the eye. LASIK only affects the front part of the cornea.
If you are a Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic who has been living with the condition for over a year, has no signs of diabetic retinopathy or other eye issues like glaucoma, and has good control over your blood sugar levels, you may be a candidate for laser eye surgery. The first step is reaching out to our team to schedule an initial consultation.
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