There is technically no upper age limit for LASIK for seniors; however, most participants are under 75 years of age. Here are some things for seniors to think about when considering LASIK.
By age 80, more than half of North Americans develop a cataract in one or both eyes. Cataracts are clouded lenses that cause blurry vision and poor night vision in particular. For patients with cataracts, cataract surgery is a safe and highly effective treatment option. The procedure involves replacing the clouded crystalline lens in the eye rather than working with the cornea as in LASIK. Thanks to LASIK MD’s affiliation with CATARACT MD, LASIK will provide a touch-up laser eye correction—at no additional charge—if a residual prescription for distance remains after the cataract surgery.
Reading Glasses and Presbyopia
Eye patients over 40 years of age are often afflicted with presbyopia, a loss of elasticity in the crystalline lens of the eye. This reduces the ability of the eye to focus on close objects, requiring reading glasses for most near or medium distance tasks. LASIK will not correct presbyopia; patients who need reading glasses and undergo traditional LASIK will still need reading glasses after their procedure. If presbyopia is your main concern, consider alternative options such as monovision or PRELEX (Presbyopic Lens Exchange).
PRELEX utilizes the same process as cataract surgery, but is used on patients with presbyopia. PRELEX corrects distance and reading vision and completely eliminates the possibility of developing cataracts.
Monovision is a method for treating both presbyopia and other refractive errors. One eye is corrected for distance in a standard laser procedure; the other is undercorrected to allow for close vision without reading glasses. This type of vision is not a good fit for everyone and it takes some time to become comfortable with it, so we recommend that prospective monovision patients first try it out with contact lenses.
You should also keep in mind that myopia (nearsightedness) can naturally cover up presbyopia. So someone who undergoes LASIK to correct their myopia, could end up requiring reading glasses after the surgery.
General Eye Health
Finally, in older patients, the general condition of the eye must be considered. This is a complex evaluation incorporating many factors of eye health. In a free preoperative assessment, a LASIK MD eye care professional will discuss specific concerns about LASIK for seniors with you and determine your best eye-care solution.