24 Jan Laser Eye Surgery Age
Laser eye surgery age depends on a number of factors, but generally is from age 21 to infinity. I’ll explain below why we feel that while 21 years old to infinity is the answer to the question, “What age can I get laser eye surgery?, most having LASIK are 21 to about 60 years old.
Age of Accountability
It is difficult to obtain legally acceptable consent for an elective procedure from a minor (less than 18 years of age) unless there is some compelling medical reason. As a result, the laser eye surgery age is almost always greater than 18 years old.
Another important determinant of the laser eye surgery age is the strength of your cornea. Your corneas get stronger as you age (too bad that isn’t true for the rest of our body!) LASIK weakens your cornea a bit. We need a cornea strong enough to handle the LASIK. The older you are, the stronger your cornea, and the safer it is to perform the procedure.
The shape of a cornea tends to stabilize when an eye stops growing in most patients. The older you are, the more likely that your corneas have stopped changing. If there are signs of corneal weakness when we check your eyes, we will usually postpone your surgery for a year or so to prove that the corneas are stable and strong enough for surgery.
Cost of LASIK
One determinate of the laser eye surgery age is the laser costs–when do you have the funds for the elective procedure? Some are blessed with parents that offer vision correction as graduation presents or rights of passage into adulthood. These families consider LASIK to correct vision as an opportunity for a better life, just like having braces to straighten their children’s teeth. This is a great blessing for these patients as they receive the gift of sight at a younger age when they have more years to enjoy it.
Other patients do not receive this gift from their parents so they need to postpone their vision correction until they amass the funds or the credit rating needed to proceed. Waiting for this raises the average age for those having laser eye surgery to coincide with the age of financial options and freedom.
Can I Have LASIK if My Prescription is Changing?
Laser eye surgery age is affected by the stability of your prescription. Eye laser does not stop your prescription from changing. We postpone vision correction until your prescription has stabilized. Some patients have their prescription progress during puberty so they become stable about the time they graduate from high school. Another group of patients experience noticeable prescription changes during the college years. This is part of why we commonly wait until age 21 to make sure your prescription has stabilized.
Can You Be Too Old for LASIK?
There really isn’t an age at which you would be too old for LASIK if your general health remains strong, but as patients move into their senior citizen years most start to develop cataracts. Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy dysfunctioning lens inside the eye and placing an intraocular replacement lens. These intraocular lenses come in a variety of powers. Prior to the cataract surgery, measurements are taken to identify the implant power that will correct your focus. Cataract surgery solves both the cataract problem and the vision correction problem at the same time for these patients.
Younger patients usually don’t have problems with their lens, so they tend to opt for LASIK while older patients with advancing cataract and lens dysfunction usually opt for cataract surgery.
The oldest patient that I have performed Lasik on is 84. He had amazingly little cataract and really wanted to have his astigmatism corrected. It was a true blessing in his life.
Can I Have Laser Eye Surgery After Cataract Surgery?
Patients with healthy corneas are often able to have laser eye surgery after their cataract surgery. Most patients achieve satisfactory vision correction and accuracy from their dysfunctional lens replacement procedure alone and don’t need laser vision correction.
If your cataract surgery result is not as accurate as you would desire, then it is possible that you could have laser vision correction to improve your distance vision without glasses.
What age can I get Laser Eye Surgery?
When we factor in the age of accountability and the desire to prove stability of prescription and corneal strength, most surgeons feel like 21 to infinity is the laser eye surgery age for most patients. On rare occasions, I will perform it for those 18-20 if there is strong proof of a stable prescription for several years and normal corneas.
If you have further questions, please schedule a time to meet with me or post a comment.