When considering options for vision correction, many patients may feel that they are either too young or too old to consider having Houston LASIK surgery. One of the most common questions we are asked is, “What is the best age to get LASIK?” or “Am I too old for LASIK?” Current technology allows laser eye surgeons the ability to perform LASIK on many people of various ages. In addition, there are various other refractive procedures available for some people who may not be a candidate for LASIK.
What Is LASIK?
LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a type of refractive surgery that is performed to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. The LASIK procedure involves the use of a laser to change the shape of the cornea, which is the clear, front surface of the eye. By changing the shape of the cornea, light that enters the eye is properly focused on the retina, resulting in clearer vision.
Is There an Age Limit for LASIK Surgery?
There isn’t necessarily a specific upper age limit for laser eye surgery. It depends more on what kind of vision and eye conditions the patient is currently experiencing, the kind of vision they desire, and whether the surgeon thinks LASIK will be the best option for them at their particular stage in life.
However, a patient must be at least 18 years old before undergoing the procedure. Having fully developed eyes is vital for a successful procedure, and before 18 years of age, it is unlikely that you will be a successful candidate. Many surgeons prefer patients be in their 20s. It depends on the surgeon and the particular patient, as each person’s eyes may develop slightly differently.
The Importance of Stable Vision
For the best LASIK results, it is important that your vision be as stable as possible. Patients should have a stable prescription for at least a year before surgery, though many surgeons prefer it to be stable for at least two years. That may not necessarily come at a certain age, but your vision is more likely to be stabilized between 20 and 30 years old, depending on the patient.
If you are still experiencing changes in your vision (due to age, pregnancy, etc.), LASIK may not be the best option for you at this particular time. Once your vision has stabilized, you can talk to your surgeon about whether LASIK surgery may be a good option for you.
Other Refractive Surgery Procedures
If you are not a candidate for LASIK, or if you are over the age of 40 and beginning to experience changes in your vision due to presbyopia, other refractive surgery procedures may be options for you. These procedures include:
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) – This is a type of surgery that is very similar to LASIK, but does not involve the use of a laser. Instead, the surgeon uses a knife to remove a thin layer of the cornea.
Refractive lens exchange – This is a type of surgery that involves removing the natural lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens. This procedure is often performed on patients over the age of 40 who are beginning to experience changes in their vision due to presbyopia.
Evo ICL — EVO ICL is a refractive implant that corrects common vision issues like myopia with or without astigmatism. EVO ICL is an additive technology, which means it corrects vision without the removal of any corneal tissue.
Can I Have LASIK If I Have Really Poor Vision?
Experienced laser eye surgeons can use this procedure to correct a wide degree of vision problems, from mild to moderate nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. In cases of extreme vision problems, there may be other options — lens implants, for example.
Schedule a Free LASIK Consultation Today
While age is NOT the only deciding factor in laser eye surgery, many factors must be considered by your doctor before performing this type of procedure to ensure that you experience the best outcome possible. The only way to know for sure is to visit an experienced Houston LASIK eye surgeon at Berkeley Eye Center. At your consultation, we will evaluate which procedure may be right for you.
If you’re ready to start a life of glasses-free vision, call Berkeley Eye Center today at (713) 526-1600 to schedule your free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About LASIK
What is the recovery time for LASIK surgery?
Most people see an improvement in vision within 24 hours after surgery. However, it may take a few weeks or longer for your vision to stabilize. Patients can typically return to work the next day.
How long does LASIK last?
LASIK surgery is a permanent procedure. However, your vision may change over time due to the natural aging process or other factors.
Does LASIK hurt?
Oral and topical anesthetic medication helps feel comfortable during the surgery. Patients typically experience little to no discomfort after post-operatively. For some, their eyes may feel scratchy, gritty, or watery after the procedure, but these symptoms are temporary and not a problem for most patients. You will be given eye drops to help alleviate these symptoms.