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Lasik Eye Surgery And Diabetes

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Symptoms Of Diabetic Eye Disease

Can I Have Laser Eye Surgery if I am Diabetic?

The symptoms of Diabetic Eye Diseasemay not be evident in the early stages. Thats why its extremely important to get regular checkups so that your eye doctor can catch any changes early on to help keep your vision solid.

However, symptoms can include any of the following:

  • Weak color vision
  • Floaters, or spots/strings

Lasik With Diabetic Retinopathy

While LASIK cannot reverse vision loss from diabetic retinopathy, it can still help your vision. LASIK uses a high-energy light source to reshape the cornea, which can help with myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. If diabetic retinopathy has caused or worsened a refractive error, LASIK may be able to help.

It is vital to speak with a surgeon or eye doctor to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK. Typically, you will need to have your blood sugar controlled to be eligible for the procedure. It is important to manage your diabetes so your diabetic retinopathy does not worsen. In uncontrolled cases, patients might not be able to get LASIK.

If you are a candidate for LASIK, the procedure will not cure diabetic retinopathy, but it will correct any refractive errors. This allows you to see clearly without wearing contacts or eyeglasses.

What Are The Factors To Consider For Lasik Eligibility As A Diabetic

First, your LASIK specialist will consider how long you have had diabetes. The longer youve had diabetes, the more risk there is for developing complications like diabetic retinopathy and fluctuating glasses or contact lens prescriptions.

Next, your LASIK specialist will examine your eyes, including a dilated retinal exam, to ensure eye health and rule out diabetic retinopathy, cataract and other diabetic eye diseases. A comprehensive eye exam is also important in determining the stability of your glasses or contact lens prescriptions. Keep in mind that LASIK surgery will offer the maximal long-term visual benefits only if your vision changes are unrelated to your diabetic condition.

Finally, your diabetes will have to be well managed in order to qualify for LASIK. This determination will at least include how well controlled your blood glucose has been in the last 6 to 12 months, which is why you will be asked to provide the lab results of your recent HbA1C tests. Your LASIK specialist may also wish to communicate with your diabetes managing physician to ensure that your diabetic control is on target.

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When Should I Resume My Diabetic Eye Exams After Lasik

After enjoying clearer vision after your LASIK surgery, it is important to remember that your vision and overall eye health can still be affected if you dont continue to manage diabetes. And your risk of developing systemic and/or ocular complications can still increase with the duration of disease. In addition to seeing your family doctor and/or internist for your regular diabetic exams, it is also recommended for you to have routine comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctors at least once a year.

An experienced LASIK provider and surgical team to individualize your LASIK procedure in order to achieve your best visual results. If you have diabetes, this tailored treatment planning process should include assessment of how well controlled your diabetes is as well as ensuring that your vision and overall eye health have not been affected by diabetes prior to LASIK.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes statistics report, 2017. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed December 2, 2019.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . . What is diabetes? Retrieved from

Shoja MR, Besharati MR. Dry eye after LASIK for myopia: Incidence and risk factors. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2007 Jan-Feb 17:1-6.

Potential Lasik Complications For Diabetics

Learn How Diabetes Can Affect Your Laser Eye Surgery from a LASIK ...

Any surgical procedure has the potential for complications. However, in patients who are considered ideal candidates for LASIK, the risk of complications is extremely minimal. Over 99% of healthy LASIK patients achieve positive LASIK results. The risk of LASIK complications is greater in patients with diabetes. Diabetes interferes with a patients blood sugar levels and can compromise their immune system, both of which can have a negative impact on healing after LASIK surgery. Potential LASIK complications for patients with diabetes may include:

  • A need for glasses or LASIK correction in the future due to unstable vision needs
  • Delayed healing
  • Issues with blood vessels in the retina

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What Happens After The Procedure

Your vision will probably be blurred for a short period, but then it should clear in an hour or two. You will not need to wear an eye patch and you may resume normal activities immediately. You can anticipate some floaters following this procedure, however, these will likely resolve within a few weeks time. Your ophthalmologist will want to check your eyes later to make sure the eye pressure is normal.

What are the risks?

There are some risks with the laser treatment such as inflammation, retinal detachment, lens dislocation, and raised pressure in the eye. Rarely the procedure may need to be repeated. Each of these problems is potentially serious, but they are each very uncommon. If you have any questions about the risks of this laser treatment, ask your ophthalmologist.

Qualifying For Lasik Eye Surgery As A Person With Diabetes

I perform LASIK surgery on people with diabetes all the time, explains Larson.

LASIK eye surgery began in the early 90sand people with diabetes werent considered candidates in those early years, but that has since changed.

We werent as aggressive with who could receive LASIK because we didnt know enough about how well people with diabetes would heal from the surgery, explains Larson. With time, the eye care industry learned that people with well-managed diabetes can successfully undergo and heal from LASIK surgery.

Today, Larson says the diabetes-related factors that affect your eligibility for LASIK include:

  • Your blood sugars are well-managed
  • Your A1c is in your goal range
  • You have no signs of retinopathy
  • You have no history of retinopathy
  • You do not have cataracts
  • You do not have advanced glaucoma
  • Your diabetes healthcare team considers your blood sugars to be well-managed
  • You are not experiencing chronically high blood sugar levels
  • Youve been living with diabetes for at least a year or two

While Larson doesnt specifically ask a potential patient to provide proof of their most recent A1c, she says some surgeons might.

I interview the patient during the exam, and I believe what they tell me, says Larson.

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Is Lasik Eye Surgery Safe For People With Diabetes

Diabetes is a common metabolic disease attributed to high blood sugar levels. It can also cause vision problems if left untreated. Most diabetic patients feel that laser eye treatment is not a good option for them. However, if you have diabetes and want to have better eyesight without using contact lenses or glasses, you may consider refractive surgery such as LASIK. Read on to learn whether it is the right procedure for you.

Talk To Your Doctor About A Glycosylated Hemoglobin Test

Diabetic Eye Disease (PDR): Laser Surgery

The glycosylated hemoglobin test helps identify your average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. Its helpful to get this test so you can see if your levels are staying within range, and if you need to adjust your diabetes medication.

The target for hemoglobin A1c levels in people with diabetes is under 7%. A healthy diet, exercise and staying on top of your medication will help keep your levels where they should be.

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What Every Diabetic Should Know About Lasik Surgery

Posted on Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 by Dr. Thomas Marvelli

If you have diabetes and are feeling hesitant about undergoing laser eye surgery, dont worry, you are not alone. In fact, a common question that we receive at the Marvel Eye Center is can diabetics get LASIK eye surgery? Dr. Thomas Marvelli is considered an authority in diabetic eye care and has provided LASIK for diabetics in the Fort Worth area countless times. To learn more about achieving excellent sight without compromising your eye health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Marvelli by calling 817-346-7333.

Diabetes is known to cause a number of vision problems in fact, some of these problems can lead to total blindness if not properly treated. Thankfully, there are a number of optical treatment options available to people who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, including, in some cases, LASIK surgery.

While the FDA has noted that diabetes, in many cases, disqualifies a person from receiving LASIK surgery, this is not always the case. In fact, a number of diabetics can benefit from this form of eye surgery without risk of complications.

In order for LASIK surgery to be successful, one will need to have stable blood sugar levels. All laser eye surgeons Fort Worth patients visit will ask for a letter from the patients general practitioner stating that his or her blood sugar levels are stable before performing eye surgery.

Controlled Blood Sugar Level

Getting a Consultation

Willingness to Take Time off and Rest

Can People With Diabetes Get Lasik

According to a 2020 article published in EyeWorld, LASIK is safe for people living with diabetes, as long as your blood sugar levels are under control and the condition has not yet affected your eyes.

âIf a patient’s diabetes is under control, then LASIK is safe,â Yuna Rapoport, MD, an ophthalmologist at Manhattan Eye, New York tells WebMD Connect to Care. “Good blood sugar control is key to reducing the risk of infections and other complications that may arise after LASIK,” Rapoport explains.

If your blood sugar levels are high, then your doctor may ask you to get it under control before going in for LASIK, for two reasons:

1. Your vision keeps fluctuating: According to Mayo Clinic, when your sugar levels fluctuate, your eye power fluctuates too. When this happens, your surgeon may be unable to perform LASIK and will ask you to wait till your blood sugar is more controlled and your eye power becomes stable. Stable eye power is needed to determine how best to shape the cornea during LASIK. Your doctor will recommend that the power on your glasses be constant for at least a year, before surgery.

2. Your wounds do not heal quickly enough: One of the main reasons why doctors do not recommend LASIK if you have high blood sugar is because your cornea may not heal sufficiently after the surgery. âIf the healing of the cornea is slow, it can lead to discomfort, infections, and corneal damage or thinningâ, Rapoport says.

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I Have Diabetes: Can I Get Lasik

Patients with diabetes want to know: how can I see better without contacts or glasses?

Typically, a patient with diabetes goes to the eye doctor to diagnose or treat their diabetic retinopathy or vision loss- but this isnt the only reason you should be seeing an eye doctor. The solution to vision loss doesnt have to be glasses or contacts- your best option is LASIK surgery.

But the burning question is: do patients with diabetes make good LASIK candidates, or is this condition a disqualifier?

The simple answer is: Yes. However, there is a but.

Evaluating blood sugar levels and diabetes history is the first step in determining whether youre a good fit for LASIK. Your doctor will want to know how long youve had diabetes, and assess the stability of your diabetes medication. Any abnormalities in blood sugar levels can cause fluctuations in prescriptions, so its vital that your vision is stable and blood sugar is controlled before LASIK can be a consideration.

Your doctor may also want to talk to your primary care physician about your hemoglobin A1c levels. As mentioned above, these levels show your average blood sugar levels, and help dictate whether or not you need to adjust your diabetes medication.

If your vision is stable and your blood sugar is well-managed- your eye doctor will then assess ocular health. This includes an evaluation of your corneal health and- of course- a screening for diabetic retinopathy.

Does Lasik Help Diabetic Retinopathy At All

Diabetic Eye Disease

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects the eye and is due to high blood sugar levels. The delicate blood vessels in the eye get damaged and this affects vision.

âUnfortunately, LASIK cannot correct vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy,â Rapoport says. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to blood vessels in the retina, which is the back layer of the eye, while LASIK only affects the very front part of the cornea.

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Eligibility Requirements For Lasikregardless Of Diabetes

Even a person without diabetes may not be a candidate for LASIK, explains Julie Larson, M.D. is an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon at Vermont Eye Laser in South Burlington, V.T. As one of the top refractive surgeons in the country, Larson has performed LASIK surgery for more than 15,000 patientsmany of whom live with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

There are a variety of basic requirementsmany of which you cannot controlthat determine if this type of surgery is safe, effective, and appropriate for you.

Some of these requirements include:

  • At least 21 years old
  • Have nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism
  • Glasses or contact lens prescription has been stable for the past 1-2 years
  • Generally health eyes
  • Your glasses or contact lens prescription is within a treatable range
  • Measurements of your corneas meet basic surgery requirements
  • Learn more about the basics of LASIK with these helpful FAQs.

This last detailthe measurements of the cornea in your eyeis the most considerable detail you cannot control. The thickness and curvature of your cornea hugely determine your eligibility for LASIK surgery.

To determine if your eyes meet these requirements, schedule a LASIK surgery consult with a qualified surgeon. During this consult, they will take detailed measurements of your eyes to determine your eligibility and map out the precise details of your future surgery.

Can People With Diabetes Get Lasik Eye Surgery

As a person with diabetes, annual visits to your eye doctor are critical to catching the earliest stages of diabetes-related eye conditions. Learn more:

Yes, people with diabetes are potential candidates for LASIK eye surgery! While certain aspects of your diabetes health could mean LASIK surgery isnt safe or appropriate for you, your diabetes diagnosis alone does not exclude you from getting this surgery.

Heres what you need to know about getting LASIK as a person with diabetes.

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Diabetes And Lasik Is The Condition Disqualifying

Written by Last modified on April 22, 2019

Diabetes is a common group of metabolic diseases marked by abnormally high blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause all sorts of health-related problems, including doubling the risk of heart disease and stroke. Diabetes can also wreak havoc on vision health in the form of diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness among people with diabetes.

Although its true that the typical intersection between diabetic patient and eye surgeon relates to the diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy, its not the only one. Some diabetic patients want to see better without their glasses or contact lenses and are therefore interested in refractive surgery like LASIK. The question is, are diabetics candidates for LASIK or is the condition disqualifying?

Yes, with a But

If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and have experienced an unrelated change in vision that youre seeking to treat with LASIK, youll be glad to hear that it is possible to undergo refractive surgery. But there are a number of considerations that must be carefully evaluated by your eye surgeon before its possible to determine your candidacy.

What are the Considerations?

The longer that youve had diabetes, the greater your risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. If changes in your vision are caused by diabetes, refractive surgery will offer limited benefit.


The Recovery

The Bottom Line

What Happens During The Procedure

Diabetic Retinopathy Laser Surgery

Your ophthalmologist will use eye drops to numb your eye and to make the pupil large. A special contact lens is put on your eye to help direct the lasers high-energy beam of light at the capsule behind the implant lens in your eye. The laser makes an opening in the capsule. You will see a few brief flashes of light and feel little, if any, discomfort. The procedure usually takes less than 5 minutes. You will be able to go home soon after it is done.

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Can You Have Lasik With Diabetes

Many patients who require glasses or contact lenses often wish they could enjoy life without always wondering where they left their glasses, or whether theyre running out of contacts. This may lead them to consider LASIK eye surgery. But what if you have other concurrent health condition, such as diabetes? As of 2015, it has been estimated there are approximately 30.3 million of people with diabetes in U.S. population. Due to its reported prevalence rate, it is likely that many of those seeking vision correction surgery may also be diabetic patients themselves.

Does the diagnosis of diabetes automatically disqualify ones candidacy for LASIK? Many patients will be happy to learn that the simplified answer is NO. However, there are additional clinical criteria that are required for a diabetic patient to qualify for LASIK. Continue reading this article to find out how diabetes impacts your eligibility for LASIK.

Diabetic Eye Disease Foods To Avoid

If youre diabetic, your doctor likely gave you a list of foods that you shouldnt be eating. Many of these foods are the same ones that youll want to avoid eating if you suffer from or want to avoid diabetic eye disease.Sugary and sweet foods and drinks are the main ones to avoid, and these can include:

1. Bread16. Soda17. Sweet breakfast cereals

Lets break these foods down into categories to better help you understand why they are inherently bad for anyone with diabetic eye disease.

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