Is LASIK Vision Correction an Option for Diabetics?

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Key Takeaways

  • Several vision-impairing conditions can occur as a result of diabetes. 
  • So long as an individual has not had their vision impaired by diabetes, and their blood sugar levels are controlled, LASIK is a safe option for diabetics. 
  • Meet with an ophthalmologist like Dr. Iskander at San Antonio Eye Specialists to learn if LASIK is right for you, regardless of how under your control your diabetes is.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2020, that around 37.3 million Americans in the United States have diabetes.  That's roughly 10% of the population have been diagnosed with diabetes and approximately 20% of the population have diabetes but have not been diagnosed.  The American Diabetes Association reported in 2019, 282,801 lives were claimed to cite the cause of death as diabetes on their death certificate.  This makes diabetes the 7th leading cause of death in the US.  

According to the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, as of 2020, Bexar County residents are consistently higher than Texas overall with diabetes hospitalization, diabetic amputation, and diabetic mortality.   A WalletHub study released in March 2022 ranked San Antonio 9 out of 100 most populous metro areas with the highest percentage of residents obese or overweight.  Furthermore, 65% of San Antonio's population is Hispanic and Hispanics are more prone as an ethnic group to develop diabetes, especially at a younger age.  

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health issue and is heavily influenced by genetic family history and diet so routine eye exams are paramount to diagnose early diabetes or prevent the onset of diabetes through preventive monitoring. Simply stated, diabetes is a complex health condition in which the body is unable to produce insulin, a hormone that removes sugar from the blood and into the cells where it is used for energy.  There are 3 main types of diabetes: Type I Diabetes, Type II Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes.  

Vision Complications from Diabetes

The most severe complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy and over one-third of diabetics are affected.  Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is caused by elevated blood sugar thereby damaging blood vessels in the retina (back of the eye).  With the progression of diabetic retinopathy, new blood vessels may grow and cause edema, or rupture and cause hemorrhage all ultimately leading to fibrous tissue formation which results in retinal detachment and loss of vision. Over time, high blood sugar not only damages blood vessels in your eyes but can also affect the shape of your lenses causing cataracts and inducing blurry vision.  Patients with cataracts cannot have LASIK.  The cataract must first be surgically removed.

Can A Diabetic Person Get LASIK Eye Surgery?

Generally speaking, if a patient's diabetes is under control, then LASIK is a viable, safe surgical option for achieving visual freedom from glasses or contact lenses. A diabetic patient should not have LASIK if blood sugar is high.  A1C is a test measurement of blood sugar and must be under control (below 5.7%) over a 3-4 month period before completing LASIK.   The A1C test measures the percentage of hemoglobin proteins coated with sugar (glycated) in the blood.  There are 2 reasons for blood sugar regulation: 1. A fluctuation of blood sugar results in changes in lens prescription which makes it difficult to calculate the amount of corneal tissue that needs to be reshaped on the laser if the eye prescription is unstable and 2. Elevated blood sugar may slow down the healing process of the cornea following surgery which may lead to corneal discomfort, edema, and possible infection.

Find Out If You Can Get LASIK From Dr. Iskander

If you have diabetes but wish to have LASIK, come consult with Dr. Iskander, our fellowship-trained refractive surgeon possessing over 20 years of surgical experience, at your free LASIK consultation, and let's evaluate your eyes to assess the best treatment plan.  For your eyes...Don't compromise!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can diabetics get LASIK?

So long as the diabetic individual’s diabetes is under control, LASIK is a safe and viable surgical option for vision correction. If an individual with diabetes has an A1C below 5.7% over a 3-4 month period, then they will be approved for LASIK by most ophthalmologists, including Dr. Iskander at San Antonio Eye Specialists. 

Can a type 1 diabetic get LASIK? 

A person with Type I Diabetes can get LASIK so long as their condition is considered under control by a medical professional, and the condition has yet to affect their vision. Regardless of the type of diabetes an individual has, LASIK is a safe option so long as their blood sugar levels are properly regulated.