Lasik Eligibility: Is There an Ideal Age for the Surgery?

Is there an ideal age for patients to get a LASIK procedure? The short answer is no, though there is a general minimum age of 18 to 21. Adults of any age with stable vision and otherwise healthy eyes may be great candidates for LASIK. However, other eye issues often make another treatment a better option for seniors.

Eye Stability and LASIK Eligibility for Younger Patients

If your eyes change after receiving LASIK, you may need to undergo another procedure or wear glasses (or contacts) again in order to regain clear vision. For this reason, it is best to wait until your prescription is stable for at least a year before getting LASIK, so that you can enjoy the results for many years to come.

Children and teenagers generally have refractive instability as they grow. Refractive errors are caused by the shape of the eye, which can change as the head grows. Unless extraordinary circumstances exist, LASIK is unavailable for patients under age 18. The surgeons at Woodhams Eye Clinic carefully consider the individual patient, and for some patients recommends waiting until they are 21 years old or older to minimize the chance of their prescriptions changing. Most people's eyes are generally stable from the end of adolescence until their vision begins to change around 40, due to age.

Refractive instability can also be caused by pregnancy, breastfeeding, hormonal changes from diseases like diabetes, and certain medications, according to the FDA.

Older Patients and Eye Health

There is no maximum age for LASIK eligibility: "Age is only a number," according to Dr. Ernest Kornmehl in an article from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Most LASIK patients are under 55, but this is because those over 55 often have other visual changes due to the beginnings of cataract development or possibly other conditions that affect vision quality. In this instance, other vision correction procedures will address the problems in a more complete way.

As patients age, they will eventually develop presbyopia, cataracts, or both; the treatment for these conditions, PreLex (presbyopic lens exchange), will also correct refractive errors like nearsightedness, rendering LASIK unnecessary. Presbyopia is a hardening of the natural lens the eye uses to focus, usually requiring the patient to wear reading glasses. Cataracts involve the lens becoming clouded and obscuring vision.

Older patients are also more likely to be taking medications or have other diseases that contraindicate LASIK, according to the AAO.

For adult patients with stable refractive errors and healthy eyes, any time could be a good time for LASIK. All patients are different, and only a personal eye exam can determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK.

Would you like to talk to someone here at Woodhams about LASIK? Enter your information below and one of our patient care advocates will reach out to you or you can call us at 770-394-4000.

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