Should you have LASIK eye surgery after 40?

Given a healthy eye and appropriate Rx to be treated, LASIK can be done safely and effectively at almost any adult age.

The real issue here is whether LASIK can be counted on to correct all the human eye's focusing problems as is usually the case in people under 40. For people in their mid-40s and older, there is often a second visual problem (over and above nearsightedness and astigmatism) that must be considered: Presbyopia. This condition, affecting near vision, occurs from the aging natural lens of the eye, not in the cornea where LASIK does its work. So LASIK does not "cure" presbyopia. However, it is possible to address both nearsightedness/astigmatism and presbyopia by "tricking" the latter. This is often called "monovision" or "blended vision."

Once you are in your 50s and older, it is not unusual to not only be presbyopic, but to also be developing incipient cataract changes in the natural lens as well. While this does not necessarily rule out LASIK, it does tend to undermine the results you can expect.

_Written by J. Trevor Woodhams, M.D. - Chief of Surgery, Woodhams Eye Clinic

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