Can I safely undergo ReLEx SMILE or LASIK if I have eye floaters?

Doctor's Answers (3)

Yes - as part of your comprehensive evaluation prior to Smile / Lasik, your attending Ophthalmic surgeon will examine the posterior segment of the eye to ensure that there is no contraindications to performing your refractive surgery.

Floaters are very common in patients with myopia (short-sightedness) and in themselves are not a contraindication for surgery.

However, other conditions which are commonly associated with myopia including retinal tears, breaks, glaucoma or myopic macula degeneration are either disqualifying or require treatment prior to proceeding with refractive surgery.

Ensure that you have a comprehensive evaluation, and take the time to ask your surgeon all the questions you need. Best of luck with your surgery!

Floaters can have several different causes, but most commonly are due to (natural) degeneration of the vitreous jelly within the eye.

In themselves, they do not disqualify someone from undergoing refractive surgery like SMILE or LASIK.

However, occasionally they may be associated with other eye problems, such as retinal breaks.

As part of a routine pre-operative examination, with or without floaters, the doctor would carefully check the retina for any problems before proceeding with SMILE or LASIK surgery. If any problem is detected, that would have to be treated accordingly.

As long as the eye and retina is otherwise normal, one can safely undergo SMILE or LASIK even if there are floaters.

Dr David Chan

"Ophthalmologist with over 20 years of experience"

Most of us do see floaters naturally. Floaters occur when the gel-like substance in our eye, also known as the vitreous, breaks down and liquefies. This usually happens with age or in people with high myopia.

Majority of the time, floaters are relatively harmless. Occasionally, it can be a result of a retinal tear or detachment which is a medical emergency and requires immediate surgical intervention as it is potentially sight-threatening.

As such, before the surgeon gives you the green light for SMILE or LASIK, he/she has to rule out the presence of any underlying eye conditions such as retinal tears or detachment. 

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