LASIK and Autoimmune Disorders

At Black Hills Regional Eye Institute, the premier laser eye surgery center in the Midwestern United States, we help to ensure the success of LASIK procedures by meticulously screening potential candidates. By distinguishing between those patients most likely to achieve excellent outcomes through LASIK and those patients at heightened risk for LASIK complications, we live up to our pledge to provide the safest, most effective eye care treatments possible.

Historically, patients with autoimmune disorders have not made suitable candidates for LASIK surgery. Advancements in LASIK technology, however, have made it possible for certain people with such disorders to undergo the procedure and achieve good results. At our eye care center in Rapid City, candidacy for LASIK among patients with autoimmune disorders is determined on a case-by-case basis, after careful and thorough evaluation of the patient’s eyes and medical history.

Why Patients with Autoimmune Disorders Have Traditionally Not Made Good LASIK Candidates

In general, people with impaired immune systems face greater risks when undergoing any surgical procedure than those with healthy immune systems. LASIK is no exception. Patients with autoimmune disease are at greater risk for infection, dry eye, and other adverse side effects, and face a potentially longer, more uncomfortable healing period.

Determining Which Autoimmune Patients Can Safely Undergo LASIK

The mere presence of an autoimmune disease is not enough to preclude someone from undergoing LASIK. Candidacy very much depends on the type of disease and how it manifests itself within the body. For example, patients who have rheumatoid arthritis that affects only their joints are often acceptable candidates for LASIK, facing only a marginally higher risk of complications than candidates with healthy immune systems. These patients are even more likely to be good candidates for LASIK if their disease is controlled by immune response modulators.

Likewise, LASIK has traditionally not been recommended to diabetic patients, but blade-free iLASIK may be a good option for diabetics with stable, well-controlled blood sugar levels and no trace of diabetic retinopathy. Even so, healing may be slower for these patients.

Common Autoimmune Disorders

If you have any of the following autoimmune disorders, it could affect your LASIK candidacy:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Grave’s disease
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Scleroderma
  • Celiac disease
  • Addison’s disease

Although you should be aware of the effect that autoimmune disorder could have on your candidacy for LASIK, you should not let that discourage you from exploring your interest in the procedure. It may be possible that you can safely undergo LASIK, and if you are not a suitable candidate for LASIK, it may be possible that you can undergo an alternative procedure and achieve similarly excellent results.

Contact Our Eye Care Clinic
One thing you can be sure of as a patient of Black Hills Regional Eye Institute is that we will recommend LASIK only if we are absolutely confident in your ability to achieve excellent results without serious complications. While there are no guarantees with any surgery, you can rest assured that we will advise you honestly and openly as to your candidacy. For further information, please contact our eye care professionals today.