Laser Eye Surgery for People with Autoimmune Diseases: What You Need to Know

Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is a popular alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses, but for people with autoimmune diseases, there are some special considerations. Autoimmune conditions can cause dry eye syndrome, which can lead to a higher risk of infection after LASIK surgery. Other conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, or cataracts, can also affect the results of the procedure. In addition, medications prescribed to people with Crohn's disease can cause dry eyes, which may prevent them from having laser eye surgery.

In order to evaluate the eye in detail before LASIK surgery, doctors often use wavefront-guided technology. During the evaluation, the eye doctor will ask about your medical and surgical history and perform a complete eye exam to determine if you can safely undergo the procedure. During LASIK surgery, a special type of cutting laser is used to precisely change the shape of the transparent dome-shaped tissue in the front of the eye (cornea) to improve vision. People with autoimmune diseases are at risk of corneal thinning, corneal melting, corneal ulcers and irregular healing, as well as scleritis, episcleritis, keratitis and eye inflammation.

If Crohn's disease worsens on the day of surgery or during the recovery period from laser eye surgery, it can have a very negative impact on the healing process. Some medications for lupus can also affect healing as a side effect, which also has a negative impact on the recovery process from laser eye surgery. Ultimately, if you have lupus, your eligibility for laser eye surgery depends on how much medication you're taking for this condition and whether you've recently had an outbreak. It will take two to three months after surgery before the eye heals and vision stabilizes.

If you have an autoimmune disorder and are considering LASIK surgery, it is important to discuss your condition with your doctor and make sure that you are in good general health before undergoing the procedure. Your doctor will be able to assess your individual situation and determine if LASIK is right for you.

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