Not a LASIK Candidate? 3 Ways to Still Achieve Visual Freedom

LASIK is the most well-known vision correction procedure in the world. While the procedure is highly effective, it isn’t for everyone. 

Most people who want LASIK qualify for it. However, about 10-15% of people who get evaluated for LASIK are screened out because they are not good candidates. 

Luckily, other vision correction procedures are just as effective as LASIK. Keep reading to find out why, if you’re not a LASIK candidate, there are other ways to still achieve visual freedom, like these 3 procedures!

Why You May Not Be a LASIK Candidate

The main qualifying factors for getting LASIK are easy to achieve. These include being at least 18, in good health, having a stable prescription, and not being pregnant or nursing. 

However, other factors can prevent some people from being good LASIK candidates. One of these factors is corneal thickness. 

LASIK creates a flap in the cornea, and if your cornea is too thin, it can’t safely accommodate a flap. A small percentage of patients seeking LASIK have corneas that are too thin to undergo the procedure safely. 

Another common reason some people are not good LASIK candidates is that they are predisposed to dry eyes. If you frequently have dry or dry eye syndrome, undergoing eye procedures can be unsafe. 

You may be able to treat dry eyes and get them under control, making you a more suitable LASIK candidate. However, some people are still prone to dry eyes even after treatment. 

You may think you’d be a good LASIK candidate, but you have an age-related eye condition like presbyopia. Presbyopia makes it difficult to focus up close, and many people need reading glasses. 

LASIK can correct refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. However, it cannot correct presbyopia. LASIK cannot improve your vision if you have presbyopia and a refractive error. 

Fortunately, if you’re found to be unsuitable for LASIK, there are LASIK alternatives. New England Eye Center offers the following procedures: PRK, EVO ICL, and refractive lens exchange.


PRK is a vision correction procedure similar to LASIK. However, PRK was the first laser vision correction procedure.

Like LASIK, PRK uses a laser to change the shape of the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The main difference is that it doesn’t require a corneal flap.

For LASIK, a flap is made in the cornea to access the interior by lifting the flap. After the procedure, the flap is replaced and acts as a natural bandage to aid healing. 

PRK, on the other hand, accesses the cornea by simply scrubbing off the thin protective layer around the cornea called the epithelium. Once complete, a bandage contact lens protects the eye as the epithelium regrows.

PRK results are virtually identical to those of LASIK, with most patients achieving 20/20 vision or better. The main difference is that initial recovery can take several days more than LASIK. 

It also takes longer for patients to see visual improvement after PRK, and there is a longer recovery. However, with results similar to those of LASIK, PRK is an excellent alternative if you don’t qualify as a candidate for LASIK due to thin corneas or other factors.


The EVO ICL is an implantable lens. ICL stands for implantable collamer lens, which is made from collamer. 

Collamer is derived from collagen, a protein naturally occurring in your body, so the implant is biocompatible and sits comfortably inside the eye. The EVO ICL is inserted during a minimally invasive procedure and is placed behind the iris and in front of your natural lens. 

This helps improve nearsightedness and astigmatism. EVO ICL is an excellent choice for improving sight if you have thin corneas, as it doesn’t require a corneal flap. 

It’s also less invasive than laser eye procedures, which may suit people with dry eyes better. Its results are comparable to LASIK, with most patients achieving 20/20 vision or better. 

The procedure is also the only reversible vision correction procedure. You can remove the EVO ICL at any time. Although it’s meant to be a permanent procedure, knowing it’s removable and reversible gives patients peace of mind. 

No other vision correction procedure can provide this, as they are permanent and reshape the cornea to correct refractive errors. However, the EVO ICL can only correct nearsightedness and astigmatism, while LASIK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. 

Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a vision correction procedure that corrects presbyopia and refractive errors. Rather than reshaping the cornea, as with LASIK, refractive lens exchange removes your natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL. 

Refractive lens exchange is almost identical to cataract surgery. However, the difference between these procedures is that you don’t have to have cataracts to undergo refractive lens exchange. 

Instead, the procedure is well-suited for patients who don’t have cataracts and want to avoid developing them in the future. Undergoing refractive lens exchange ensures that you’ll never develop cataracts. 

Refractive lens exchange is also an excellent choice if you want to improve your vision with a procedure like LASIK but have been told you’re not a good candidate. That’s because refractive lens exchange is also an effective way of correcting refractive errors, ensuring you can see clearly after the procedure. 

Combining that with premium IOLs that you can choose before the procedure, it’s easy to see why so many people end up with the best vision of their life after refractive lens exchange. Premium IOLs can usually correct presbyopia, ensuring you no longer need to depend on reading glasses after refractive lens exchange.

Are you ready to start your journey to better vision? Take the first step by requesting an appointment today at New England Eye Center in Boston, MA!

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