“Age is just a number,” is a phrase that does not apply when referring to LASIK. Age plays a key role in determining who is a good candidate for LASIK. While most people are candidates for LASIK, age can make a difference in the surgical outcome. By understanding how age affects how effective LASIK will be, you can decide if LASIK is right for you.
Anyone under the age of 18 is not considered to be a good candidate for LASIK because the eyes are still changing. If LASIK is performed on eyes that are still changing, there is a high likelihood that future procedures will be necessary. In addition, children’s eyes respond differently to surgical manipulation and the safety of a child’s eyes cannot be assured.
The FDA states that anyone above the age of 18 is a good candidate for LASIK procedure. However, while students are in college their contact lens and glasses prescription are more likely to change. Annual eye exams will monitor stability. A stable prescription is one that has stopped changing more than 0.5 diopters a year.
People in this age bracket are typically ideal LASIK candidates. By this age, the eyes will become stable enough for a constant lens prescription. Good candidates have myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism or a combination.
This age bracket suffers from Presbyopia, which occurs when the lenses in the eye lose the ability to change focus and transition between near and far distances. Presbyopia occurs even if a patient has had LASIK.
Monovision, a treatment for presbyopia is usually treated with contact lenses. A contact lens is worn on the dominant eye to correct for distance vision and a lesser prescription to correct for near vision. As the brain becomes used to this, the patient can adjust to transitions quickly. When a patient has become adjusted to this (usually 6-8 weeks), the patient can opt for Monovision LASIK.
Ages 50 and up
There is no age limit for LASIK however the earlier it is done, the better the results. In recent years, the amount of 50 and up patients who have considered and had LASIK has increased. A good candidate that is above 50 is someone who has healthy eyes, is myopic or hyperopic and has astigmatism that can be corrected.
The risks for those over 50 include but are not limited to are:
Anyone who shows symptoms of cataracts will benefit more from having cataract surgery.
2. Drug side effects
Some drug side effects such as photosensitivity; hazy vision and glare are not good candidates for LASIK.
3. Pre-existing eye disease
Anyone who has a preexisting disease such as a corneal disorder, glaucoma or diabetes is typically not a good candidate.
Only a LASIK surgeon can deem a person to be a good candidate. If you are considering refractive surgery in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina, consider Raleigh Eye Center. For more information visit us online or call (919) 876-2427.