WebMD Logo Icon
WebMD Connect to Care helps you find services to manage your health. When you purchase any of these services, WebMD may receive a fee. WebMD does not endorse any product, service or treatment referred to on this page. X

LASIK and Diabetes: Everything You Need to Know

By Shweta Iyer
Reviewed by Sheri Rowen, MD, and member of the Refractive Surgery Council editorial advisory board on December 17, 2020
Are you living with diabetes and wondering if LASIK is the right option for you? We've got you covered.

Can People With Diabetes Get LASIK?

According to a 2020 article published in EyeWorld, LASIK is safe for people living with diabetes, as long as your blood sugar levels are under control and the condition has not yet affected your eyes.

“If a patient's diabetes is under control, then LASIK is safe,” Yuna Rapoport, MD, an ophthalmologist at Manhattan Eye, New York tells WebMD Connect to Care. "Good blood sugar control is key to reducing the risk of infections and other complications that may arise after LASIK," Rapoport explains.

If your blood sugar levels are high, then your doctor may ask you to get it under control before going in for LASIK, for two reasons:

1. Your vision keeps fluctuating: According to Mayo Clinic, when your sugar levels fluctuate, your eye power fluctuates too. When this happens, your surgeon may be unable to perform LASIK and will ask you to wait till your blood sugar is more controlled and your eye power becomes stable. Stable eye power is needed to determine how best to shape the cornea during LASIK. Your doctor will recommend that the power on your glasses be constant for at least a year, before surgery.

2. Your wounds do not heal quickly enough: One of the main reasons why doctors do not recommend LASIK if you have high blood sugar is because your cornea may not heal sufficiently after the surgery. “If the healing of the cornea is slow, it can lead to discomfort, infections, and corneal damage or thinning”, Rapoport says.

Does LASIK help diabetic retinopathy at all?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects the eye and is due to high blood sugar levels. The delicate blood vessels in the eye get damaged and this affects vision. 

“Unfortunately, LASIK cannot correct vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy,” Rapoport says. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to blood vessels in the retina, which is the back layer of the eye, while LASIK only affects the very front part of the cornea.

Start Your Journey To Better Vision Today.

Ready to say goodbye to contact lenses and glasses? WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.