Who Should Not Have Laser Eye Surgery?

March 10, 2024

If you want to correct your vision and reduce your reliance on glasses or contacts, laser eye surgery will often be the first, most widely available option. However, it is not right for everyone. Fortunately, people who are not good candidates for laser eye surgery can still benefit from other minimally invasive, low-downtime procedures. 

Laser Eye Surgery Austin & Dripping Springs

What is Laser Eye Surgery?

While you might immediately associate laser eye surgery with LASIK, it also includes procedures like SMILE and PRK. In all three procedures, a laser is used to correct your vision by reshaping a structure at the front of your eye called the cornea. The primary difference is in how your eye surgeon gains access to the cornea. In LASIK, a flap is created on the corneal surface, while SMILE creates a small disc of tissue called a lenticule, and PRK removes the outer corneal layer entirely. 

Who Should Not Have Laser Eye Surgery?

While laser eye surgery is popular and safe for most people, only a consultation can determine whether it is recommended for you. Factors that affect whether you should have laser eye surgery include your health, lifestyle, and overall goals. Your eye surgeon will perform a thorough examination to determine whether you are a good candidate, assessing factors including:

Corneal Health

Laser eye surgery acts on the cornea, so it may not be a good option for those with thin, unstable, or abnormally shaped corneas. It may not be recommended for people with frequent dry eye problems either. 


You are not a candidate for laser eye surgery if you are under 18 years of age in most cases. 

Request a Consultation

The Path to Clearer Vision Starts Here


You may not benefit from laser eye surgery if your prescription for glasses or contacts is too strong for these procedures. Candidates should also have a fairly stable prescription if they plan to have laser eye surgery in order to achieve long-lasting results. 

Physical Activities

People who engage in contact sports are not usually good candidates for LASIK and may not be recommended for laser eye surgery. While SMILE or PRK is often an option, many people prefer other choices due to the recovery time. 

Eye Health

People with medical conditions that affect the eye, including those related to diabetes, glaucoma, or macular degeneration, may not be good candidates. 

Do I Have Options Other Than Laser Eye Surgery?

If laser eye surgery is not an option for you, your eye surgeon may recommend one of two other procedures:

Refractive Lens Exchange

During this procedure, your eye surgeon removes your natural lens, the clear structure behind the colored part of the eye, and replaces it with an artificial one. This new lens corrects your vision and has the added benefit of preventing cataracts and other age-related conditions. 

IntraCameral Lens

This procedure uses an implantable lens that is placed in front of your natural one to help change the angle of light. It provides significant vision correction for people who cannot have laser eye surgery. 

Emergency visit with Dr Payne and she took care of me right away! Professional and kind staff.
Ariel V.

Take the Next Step

If you’d like to learn more about laser eye surgery, schedule a consultation with our Heart of Texas Eye Care team, serving Dripping Springs, Austin, Kyle, Bee Cave, Marble Falls, and other surrounding areas. Contact us at (512) 213-2220 today!

*Individual results may vary