I was interested in having laser eye surgery done to correct my eyesight – I wear glasses and want to get it done since it is cheaper in the long run than always buying new pairs and I think it makes me look better. Is it permissible in these circumstances?
Eye surgeries are becoming more and more common with progress made in the medical field. Refractive eye surgery is any eye surgery used to improve the refractive state of the eye and decrease dependency on glasses or contact lenses. The most common methods today use lasers to reshape the cornea.
The Islamic ruling with regards to all types of surgeries is that it will be allowed to resort to them as long as there is a genuine medical need.
Imam Abu Dawud, Imam Nasa’i and Imam Tirmidhi (Allah have mercy on them) have recorded in their respective Sunan collections, that a Companion by the name of Arfaja ibn Aswad (Allah be pleased with him) had his nose damaged in the battle of kulab. He replaced it first with silver and then with a nose made of gold, with the order and consent of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).
It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, a major Hanafi Fiqh reference:
“If one intends to cut off an extra finger, it will be permissible as long as there is no fear of perishing.” (4/114)
However, surgery for beatification purposes and when there is no need will remain unlawful (haram), for it involves mutilation (muthla), tampering with one’s body and changing the nature created by Allah Most High (taghyeer khalq Allah).
In light of this, resorting to a laser eye surgery would be allowed provided the following two conditions are met:
1) There is a genuine need. If one is able to put up with wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses, then one should avoid having laser treatment being done. However, not everyone is comfortable with wearing glasses, especially when one has to wear them all the time. Those who like to read before retiring to bed sometimes fall asleep with their glasses on, which can be dangerous at times. Contact lenses are too complicated for some to wear. Some people are not satisfied with vision correction by either eyeglasses or contact lenses. Thus, although eyeglasses and contact lenses are suitable and ideal alternatives, one may resort to eye surgery if one still feels the need.
2) The surgery is safe from potential harms. One must enquire from specialists whether it would be safe for one to undergo such surgery.
And Allah Knows Best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK