What is the right age for a LASIK procedure?
Ever since LASIK gained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the 1980s, people have been clamoring for a chance to improve their eyesight almost overnight. Various benefits have contributed to LASIK’s rise in popularity – everything from short recovery times to painless procedures has made LASIK attractive to patients of all ages.
But like any other medical operation, only candidates who have the right attributes should seek out laser vision correction. To determine if you would be a good candidate for a LASIK procedure, a qualified technician will take various attributes about your vision into account, such as the health of your eyes, your prescription, and the shape and thickness of your cornea. However, age is another important factor to consider, so read on to learn how old you should be to undergo laser vision correction.
Can you be too young?
When it comes to medical procedures that affect other parts of the body, physicians generally prefer to hold off on serious operations until patients are older and they have stopped growing physically. The same goes for LASIK, though not in the way you might think.
Glasses wearers know that they need to undergo periodic eye exams to check their prescriptions and make any necessary adjustments. Sometimes, your vision will be the same and you won’t need a new pair of specs, but other times, optometrists need to give you a stronger or weaker prescription to suit your changed eyes.
But how does this change occur and when does it stop? Avi Wallerstein, M.D., co-founder of LASIK MD, explained how the eye naturally changes as you age.
“Fundamentally, the reason the prescription progresses is because you’re growing, and in the same way, your eyeball is growing and changing shape and form,” Wallerstein said. “After 18 years of age, that really doesn’t happen. What does happen is when you go to a consult or get an eye exam, we notice a little bit of a change, but this is normal.”
Because your eye has more or less settled into its final form by the time you reach your late teens, Wallerstein said that, given a medical history that checks out, patients as young as 18 years old can be excellent candidates for a LASIK procedure. Most patients wait until their mid-20s, but you don’t need to struggle with poor vision in young adulthood any longer than you have to.
Can you be too old?
After you leave your teens, your body is pretty much done growing. In fact, if you’re lucky enough to avoid serious health problems, your body probably won’t change much at all for a few decades other than signs of aging.
However, when you approach retirement age, your eyes can undergo some dramatic shifts. The 60-year-old mark is usually when the risk of cataracts, which are imperfections in the cornea, become much more likely. LASIK isn’t your only option, though – there’s also cataract surgery, during which a customized lens is placed into the eye to both remove the corneal imperfections and correct vision.
However, there’s no hard and fast upper limit to the age of LASIK patients. In fact, as long as you don’t have any serious eye conditions, you can undergo the procedure as late in life as you wish. Few patients over the age of 70 are good candidates due to the high likelihood of other complications.
Leave it to the experts
If you’re unsure if your age or anything else might invalidate you as a LASIK candidate, the only way to find out for sure is to ask. Make sure you’re talking to the right person, though, like a qualified LASIK technician.
In fact, if a LASIK office doesn’t offer you a preoperative consultation, you should probably run. Qualified practitioners will always prefer to meet with you weeks before the potential procedure. During this appointment, a technician might use a computer to create a digital map of your eye. If you’re a good candidate for LASIK, it’s this image that’s used to guide the laser responsible for reshaping the inner parts of your eye to grant you better vision than you might’ve thought possible.
If you’re at all unsure about whether or not LASIK is for you, contact your nearest office today for a free consultation. All it takes is one call to set you up with a team of experts who have performed thousands of procedures to date. Even if you’ve just graduated from high school or you finally qualify for the senior rate at the movies, LASIK could be for you. Don’t let your age stop you from living a life free from glasses, contacts or other visual impairments.