Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, LASIK for short, is a laser-assisted procedure to correct common refractive errors of the eye. For those who cannot or would prefer not to wear glasses or contacts, LASIK is a life-altering surgery that returns vision impairments to normal. What age is best for LASIK?
LASIK is a surgical procedure to reshape the cornea in the eye. The cornea acts as a lens for the eye, focusing the light that enters. A misshapen cornea distorts the image, resulting in nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. These refractive errors are incredibly common, in fact it’s estimated that over 150 million Americans have one.
LASIK is a relatively quick procedure that can be performed in an office setting. During a LASIK procedure, your eye will be numbed with eye drops. A laser will cut a small flap in the cornea, and then reshape the cornea through the opening. The flap is closed and begins to heal by itself within minutes.
If you have a refractive error, you may be eligible for LASIK. Your doctor will discuss your vision history, health history and take into account any risk factors that may disqualify you from the surgery. If you have diabetes, glaucoma or dry eyes LASIK is probably not right for you. Certain medications taken for autoimmune disorders may prevent proper healing following surgery. You should also wait to receive LASIK if you are pregnant or nursing; hormonal fluctuations can change your vision, rendering the results ineffective.
Another consideration for LASIK is age. LASIK is FDA approved for anyone over the age of 18, but that doesn’t mean 18 is the best age for the procedure. In fact, many eye surgeons will recommend waiting until the mid-20s to consider LASIK. This is because vision doesn’t stabilize until later; an 18 year old may be eligible for LASIK, but their vision may still change or worsen following the procedure. While LASIK can be repeated, eye surgeons will only consider a repeated procedure 5-10 years after the initial one.
While there is no maximum age limit for LASIK, the best results are generally achieved between the ages of 25-40. This is when vision is most stable and when there are the lowest number of risk factors associated with the procedure. By age 60, cataracts often become a consideration. If you have clouded lenses, cataract surgery will take precedence over LASIK to correct refractive errors that can otherwise be fixed through glasses or contacts.