When is Someone Too Young or Too Old to Have LASIK?Author: Dr. William Tullo
July 25, 2013
Age marks plenty of milestones: driving, voting, working and retiring. But there’s no set age for LASIK. Most providers won’t perform LASIK on those under 18 because eyes tend to keep changing into early adulthood. But laser eye surgery has been performed on children (with severe vision problems) and octogenarians alike.
These are outliers to most cases. The most common age for LASIK, in fact, falls between the ages of 20 and 40.
LASIK Age Defined
LASIK is FDA-approved for those 18 and older. Most providers encourage young adults to wait until their mid-20s because, until this time, a person’s prescription may be still changing. Having a stable prescription for at least two years is often required as proof before anyone, young or old, is deemed a good LASIK candidate.
From the point of stable prescription on, most adults concurrently grow their savings, begin traveling for work and pleasure, and perhaps develop an irritation or exhaustion with contacts and eye glasses. This creates the popular period during which most people have LASIK.
Around the age of 40, a person’s eyes start to change again. Soon thereafter, many people start to need reading glasses due to a condition known as presbyopia. LASIK does not correct presbyopia, but some people with the condition decide to have monovision. Monovision is a laser eye surgery that leaves one eye corrected for near vision and the other eye corrected for distance vision.
At age 60, the eyes start to change once more. This is when risk of cataracts increases. Some adults get to age 70 or 80 with no cataracts and have otherwise healthy eyes. Despite being outside the common LASIK age spectrum, these people can be good candidates for laser eye surgery. It’s possible that a 70-year-old without cataracts or other eye illnesses is actually a better candidate than a 30-year-old with very dry eyes and diabetes.
Age certainly influences one’s LASIK candidacy, but it by no means draws an absolute boundary. If you are in good health, have a stable prescription and are considering LASIK, ask a laser vision correction provider to assess your candidacy.