Updated on  February 20, 2024
5 min read

What’s the Minimum Age for Getting LASIK?

9 sources cited
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Since its invention and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), laser vision correction has revolutionized the field of optometry.1 Many have achieved 20/20 vision after laser eye surgery. 

Today, the most popular laser surgery is LASIK

This laser vision correction procedure uses a special laser device known as an excimer laser to reshape the cornea and correct refractive errors.

LASIK Surgeon Using Laser

LASIK is a refractive surgery that can correct the following:

Planning laser vision correction also includes determining whether you’re a good candidate for it. Factors such as age and health status are significant determiners of LASIK eligibility.

Minimum Age for LASIK

There is no strict age limit for LASIK eye surgery. However, the FDA only recommends the procedure if you’re 18 or older. 

For most surgeons, 25 is the ideal age for LASIK. LASIK is not usually performed in children. The procedure requires more studies on its safety and efficacy in younger people. 

When LASIK was first introduced, many older people could afford it. Today, more young people are seeking LASIK surgery to restore their perfect vision. The contributing factors to this include its affordability and popularity. 

Maximum Age for LASIK 

Fortunately, there’s no upper age limit for LASIK eligibility. 

However, even after enjoying perfect vision for your entire life, your eyesight may start declining after you turn 40 (presbyopia). To fix your eyesight problem, you may need prescription glasses, contact lenses, or corrective surgery. 

If you’re a non-smoker and have good general health, you may qualify for LASIK. 

However, certain conditions can make you ineligible for LASIK eye surgery. Cataracts are prevalent in old age and are a major reason many seniors don’t qualify for LASIK surgery.8 

While the presence of cataracts can be a roadblock, it doesn’t automatically exclude you from corrective procedures. You may need cataract surgery first to be eligible for LASIK. 

Other Requirements for LASIK Candidacy

Here are other requirements that make you an ideal candidate for LASIK: 

Thick Cornea

A thick cornea allows for an easy flap creation. The surgeon will remove some of your corneal tissue to create a flap. If you have a thin cornea, you won’t have enough corneal tissue, making laser eye surgery risky. 

No Underlying Conditions

People with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or Sjögren’s syndrome may have impacted results. 

Stable Eyeglasses and Contact Lens Prescription

A successful LASIK procedure requires a stable eye prescription for at least a year. Refractive surgery can’t correct a prescription that is still changing.

No Eye Diseases

Eye diseases such as severe cataracts and glaucoma may affect healing or lead to complications.9 You must have good eye health to prevent any further complications from undergoing LASIK surgery.  

Not Taking Certain Medications

Certain prescription medications such as steroids, immunosuppressants, and anti-inflammatories can affect healing. 

Informed and Realistic Expectations

It’s important to gather enough information about the procedure to avoid unrealistic expectations. Talk to your eye surgeon about your health history, previous surgeries, and any medications you take to receive the best medical advice. 

Who Shouldn’t Get LASIK?

You shouldn’t undergo LASIK surgery if you: 

  • Are under 18, due to vision instability
  • Have thin corneas (may result in corneal complications due to lack of tissue)
  • Have large pupils, which may cause glares (more than 7 millimeters in the dark)
  • Have unrealistic expectations or are uneducated about the procedure
  • Don’t have a stable vision prescription
  • Have corneal disorders, such as cataracts or glaucoma
  • Have underlying autoimmune diseases that can prolong or prevent healing
  • Are pregnant or nursing, as hormone fluctuations may affect healing
  • Can’t adhere to post-LASIK care instructions
  • Can’t afford it (it’s an elective that isn’t covered under insurance)
  • Actively participate in contact sports such as rugby or football
  • Are at risk of dry eye syndrome, which can cause significant discomfort after LASIK
  • Experienced complications after your initial LASIK surgery
  • Are healing from an eye injury

If you have visual problems and feel LASIK surgery may work for you, talk to your doctor. Only a qualified eye doctor can determine candidacy.

Alternative Vision Correction Options

Different vision correction options may be more suitable for different age groups than others. If you don’t qualify for LASIK, you can explore the following alternatives:

  • Small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE). SMILE is similar to LASIK since it also offers clearer vision by reshaping the cornea. If you’re between 20 to 35 years old, SMILE can be a good LASIK alternative for you.
  • Refractive lens exchange surgery (RLE). This prodcedure replaces your natural lens and replaces it with an artificial one. It’s a suitable LASIK alternative for people in their late 30s to mid 50s.
  • Cataract Surgery. Seniors are more likely to suffer from the effects of cataracts. They’ll gain more benefits from cataract sugery compared to LASIK.

Other alternative vision correction options include:


LASIK eye surgery is a safe, effective way to correct vision problems caused by refractive errors. You should be at least 18 to receive LASIK, but 25 is ideal.

Consult an eye doctor beforehand to know whether you’re a good LASIK candidate.

Updated on  February 20, 2024
9 sources cited
Updated on  February 20, 2024
  1. The FDA’s LASIK Program,” US Food & Drug Administration, 2021.
  2. Number of LASIK surgeries in the United States from 1996 to 2020,” Statista Research Department, 2016.
  3. Bamashmus,  et al.,“Functional Outcome and Patient Satisfaction after Laser In Situ Keratomileusis for Correction of Myopia and Myopic Astigmatism,” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 2015.
  4. How to Use Your FSA and HSA for Laser Vision Correction: 2022 Update,” Refractive Surgery Council, 2021.
  5. O’Keefe M. and Nolan L.  “LASIK surgery in children,” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2004.
  6. Adult Vision: 41 to 60 Years of Age,” American Optometric Association (AOA).
  7. The Option of Monovision,” Stanford University Medicine.
  8. Cataracts,”  The Johns Hopkins University.
  9. Osman E. “Laser refractive surgery in glaucoma patients,” 2010.
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.