What Is the Best LASIK Eye Surgery Age?

15 sources cited
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How Old Do You Have to Be to Get LASIK?

LASIK is only FDA-approved for adults ages 18 and up. Many eye doctors will not perform LASIK on patients before they turn 25 because their eyes are likely to change. They will probably recommend wearing glasses or contact lenses until their vision stabilizes and they qualify for the procedure.

For many people, eyesight continues to change through early adulthood, until about age 24. It is common for surgeons to require the patient to have a stable prescription for one to two years before getting LASIK.

What Is The Best Age To Get LASIK?

The best age to get LASIK eye surgery is somewhere between 20 and 40 years old or when you’ve had a stable prescription for at least about two years. Everyone is different, and it’s wise to consult your eye doctor about whether or not you are a good candidate for LASIK.

LASIK, which stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is an eye surgery that permanently corrects your vision by reshaping the corneal tissue. The cornea, which is the part of your eye that helps to bend and focus light to create an image, is not always perfectly shaped. This can cause refractive errors that blur or distort your eyesight.

diagram showing six steps of lasik eye surgery

In LASIK surgery, a surgeon uses a mechanical microkeratome (a blade) or a femtosecond laser to cut a flap in your cornea. Leaving a hinge at one end of the flap, they’ll fold it back to reveal the stroma (the middle section of the cornea). The surgeon will then use pulses from a computer-controlled laser to vaporize a portion of the stroma and replace the corneal flap.

The surgery, which only takes about 10 minutes per eye, ultimately treats three primary refractive errors:

  1. Myopia (Nearsightedness). People with myopia have difficulty seeing distant objects clearly.
  2. Hyperopia (Farsightedness). People with hyperopia have difficulty seeing objects close up clearly.
  3. Astigmatism. Astigmatism refers to irregularities in the shape of the cornea or the lens of the eye that causes image distortion on the retina.
graphic comparing normal vision, myopia refractive error, and hyperopia refractive error

Laser eye surgery is a long-term, permanent solution to correct your vision compared to reading glasses and contact lenses.

LASIK eye surgery is not for everyone. You should not get eye surgery to correct your vision if your eyesight is still developing. If you’re under 18 years old, for example, there’s a chance that your eyes are not yet finished developing.

LASIK Surgeon Using Laser

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LASIK Eye Surgery Age Limit

There is no upper age that prevents seniors from getting LASIK. However, there are several health considerations that determine whether someone qualifies for the procedure.

People with certain autoimmune or immunodeficiency diseases are at a higher risk for healing complications. Some medications, including immunosuppressants, anti-inflammatories, steroids, isotretinoin (Accutane), and amiodarone may disqualify you. However, you may qualify for LASIK if you stop taking these medications for a certain length of time before the procedure.

Only a consultation with a qualified eye surgeon can help you determine whether you should get LASIK or not. Most surgeons will let you schedule a free consultation where they can make sure your eyes are healthy and answer any questions you have.

Eye Conditions That Impact LASIK Candidacy

Age is only one factor that affects your candidacy for LASIK eye surgery. Certain eye conditions and vision problems can also impact your LASIK candidacy. These include the following:

  • Presbyopia. When your eyes gradually lose the ability to see clearly, which happens with age
  • Cataracts. Cloudy areas in the lens of your eye, which can occur with age
  • Keratoconus. When the cornea thins out and bulges
  • Uncontrolled Glaucoma. Eye disorders that can cause progressive damage to the eye’s optic nerve
  • Corneal Disease. A condition that can cause clouding, distortion, and scarring, which can sometimes lead to blindness
  • Other Retinal and Optic Nerve Diseases 

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Is LASIK Worth It?

Many people consider LASIK eye surgery to be worth it. But it’s ultimately your decision.

The effects of LASIK surgery last a lifetime. Since the surgeon reshapes the cornea by physically removing its imperfections, LASIK is a permanent solution. A reported 99 percent of LASIK patients achieve better than 20/40 vision, while more than 90 percent achieve 20/20 vision or better after having laser vision correction.

Of course, LASIK is not for everyone. There are some side effects and risks involved:

  • You may experience dry eyes for up to three months (Though eye drops can help)
  • You may experience nighttime glares
  • You may see halos in low-light conditions
  • The flaps the surgeon creates during LASIK surgery aren’t secured, so rubbing or poking your eyes could dislodge them while they heal
  • You may need to have LASIK surgery again if your eyes change over time. This could happen if you’re still young, and your eyes are still developing
Surgeon performing LASIK Procedure

Still not sure about LASIK? Talk with an experienced Patient Counselor at NVISION to find out if it's right for you.

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15 Cited Research Articles
  1. “Am I a Candidate for LASIK? – LASIK Eye Surgery.” EISJ, 28 May 2019, www.eyesinsj.com/am-i-a-candidate-for-lasik-eye-surgery/
  2. “Ask The Doctor: How Long Does LASIK Last?” American Refractive Surgery Council, 24 Apr. 2020, americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org/how-long-does-lasik-last/.
  3. Boyd, Kierstan. “What Is Keratoconus?” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 4 Dec. 2019, www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-keratoconus
  4. Boyd, Kierstan. “What Is Presbyopia?” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 27 June 2020, www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-presbyopia
  5. “Cataracts.” National Eye Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/cataracts
  6. Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “LASIK.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/medical-devices/surgery-devices/lasik
  7. Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Surgical Procedures Aimed at Improving the Focusing Power of the Eye.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/medical-devices/lasik/what-lasik
  8. Frequently Asked Questions - LASIK - Flaum Eye Institute - University of Rochester Medical Center, www.urmc.rochester.edu/eye-institute/lasik/faq.aspx
  9. “Glaucoma.” AOA.org, www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/glaucoma?sso=y
  10. Illinois Eye Center. “Corneal Disease - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosing & Treating.” Illinois Eye Center, 28 Jan. 2019, www.illinoiseyecenter.com/corneal-disease/
  11. Joy, Kevin. “Pros and Cons of LASIK: Are the Risks Worth the Cost?” Health & Wellness Topics, Health Tips & Disease Prevention, 13 Dec. 2017, healthblog.uofmhealth.org/eye-health/pros-and-cons-of-lasik-are-risks-worth-cost.
  12. Marketing, 434, and Piedmont Eye Center. “What Is the Best Age to Get LASIK? Tips from Piedmont Eye Center.” Piedmont Eye Center, 5 Aug. 2016, www.piedmonteye.com/best-age-get-lasik/
  13. Solomon, Dr. Kerry, et al. “Kerry Solomon, MD.” Dr Kerry Solomon Does LASIK Last Forever Comments, 19 Sept. 2018, www.drkerrysolomon.com/blog/lasik/does-lasik-last-forever/.
  14. Website, Vec. “What Is The Best Age To Get LASIK?” LASIK in Norfolk Virginia Beach Chesapeake VA, Virginia Eye Consultants, 15 July 2016, www.virginiaeyeconsultants.com/presentations-and-education/what-is-the-best-age-to-get-lasik/
  15. “What Is the Best Age to Get LASIK?: Hodges Eye Care: LASIK Tucson.” Hodges Eyecare & Surgical Center, 12 June 2018, www.hodgeseyecare.com/what-is-the-best-age-to-get-lasik/blog
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