There is a lot of confusing information online about LASIK and age. Some websites say you should be 18 to have the procedure, while others say 21. It is also confusing for those nearing the 40 mark. Some websites warn that because your eyesight will begin to deteriorate at age 40, you should avoid the procedure. What’s a consumer to believe? There’s a plethora of information that has to be sifted through to understand how age and LASIK can be joined together in the same sentence.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is an acronym that stands for laser in-situ Keratomileusis. LASIK uses a laser beam to reshape the eye’s cornea. It is used to treat far- and near-sightedness and astigmatism.
The recommended age for LASIK is 18 and older. According to the FDA, there are no lasers approved for anyone under the age of 18. However your eyes are still developing between the ages of 18-21 and therefore it is up to your LASIK surgeon to determine if you are ready for LASIK.
Who Should Consider LASIK?
Many demographics fall under the potential candidate list for LASIK
- Patients with myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism or those who have a combination.
- Patients with a stable refractive error. This means that prescriptions have not change in the last year.
- Patients with “adequate” cornea. (Patients with thin corneas are often deemed non-candidates for LASIK, however PRK may be an option.
Age 40 and up
Presbyopia occurs around age 40. This is when the lens in the eye loses the ability to change focus due to aging. Presbyopia causes the eyes to have difficulty transitioning between near and far distances. With the onset of presbyopia, extra magnification is needed for the bottom of glasses (bifocals). Presbyopia occurs regardless of whether or not you have had refractive surgery.
A solution to this problem is Monovision Refractive Surgery. Monovision allows for freedom from reading classes. With monovision, a contact lens is worn on one eye to correct distance vision (typically the dominant eye) and another contact lens of a lesser prescription is worn in the other eye to correct for near vision. With time, the brain learns to use one eye for near and the other for distance. Within six to eight weeks the brain will adapt to the changes and allow for the change from near to far and vice versa without much effort. Monovision can be corrected through LASIK or PRK.
Health tip: Talk to your ophthalmologist if you are considering monovision. Your doctor may suggest trying monovision contact lenses first to check compatibility.
If you are ready to learn more or to treat your eyes, contact the Raleigh Eye Center today to make an appointment.