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What Is The Best Age To Get 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.
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:
- Myopia (Nearsightedness). People with myopia have difficulty seeing distant objects clearly.
- Hyperopia (Farsightedness). People with hyperopia have difficulty seeing objects close up clearly.
- Astigmatism. Astigmatism refers to irregularities in the shape of the cornea or the lens of the eye that causes image distortion on the retina.
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.
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 eye surgery.
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LASIK Eye Surgery Minimum Age
While there is no minimum age for LASIK eye surgery, LASIK is only FDA-approved for adults ages 18 and up. Most eye doctors will not perform LASIK on patients under 18 years old because their eyes are likely to change.
Many eye surgeons may even turn away patients who are 18 years old or older. They typically require a steady prescription record that shows that your eyes have not recently changed. They will review records from your past eye exams to ensure that your vision has stabilized and has not significantly changed in the last one to two years.
Because eyesight continues to change until about 24, many doctors won’t do LASIK eye surgery on patients under 25 years old.
LASIK Eye Surgery Age Limit
The FDA-approved LASIK eye surgery age limit is 18 years old. Most people get LASIK surgery around the ages of 35 to 40. However, anyone in the military or law enforcement and professional athletes may be given special consideration at a younger age.
Eye Conditions That Impact LASIK Candidacy
Age is only one factor that affects your candidacy for LASIK eye surgery. Certain eye conditions 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
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