Too Old for Lasik?
- Asked by Moira in Regina, SK Canada
- 5 years ago
Is there an age at which Lasik would be ill advised because you might still need glasses to correct age-related eye issues, or does Lasik preclude these problems?
Age limit for LASIK LASEK
I have successfully done LASEK on a man who was 84, all you need to know is you need punctual plugs, Restasis, and Lacrisert to prevent/treat your dry eyes in the postop period (for a few months), and also MonoVision so you won't need readers, afterwards, either!
LASIK age limits
There are no upper age restrictions for LASIK. I have treated patients well into their 80's with excellent results. These patients have generally already had cataract surgery and do not want to wear glasses for distance.
In the LASIK patient past their mid 40's reading glasses are generally needed to see uo close, but distance vision is excellent without glasses.
Candidates for LASIK
Past the age of 40-50 patients lose the ability to accommodate. This means that after LASIK they may still require reading glasses for fine print. About half of these patients are candidates for LASIK with mono-vision, in which case no reading glasses are needed. Past the age of about 70, patients sometimes develop cataracts in which case they are not a candidate for LASIK.
Recent LASIK Reviews
No upper age limit
There is no set maximum age for refractive surgery--it just depends on the patient and the situation. If cataracts are present, it is usually better to have those removed first. In order to fine-tune the vision afterwards, refractive surgery is a great option! Dry eyes may become more of a problem postoperatively, but that is usually transient.
There is no upper age limit for Lasik
As patients age other visual problems like cataracts and Macular degeneration may be higher priorities. However for healthy patients, LASIK may be suitable regardless of age.
Lasik After Age 50
I don't feel anyone is ever too old for LASIK provided they understand what they are getting and not getting. I will use myself as an example. I had laser vision correction of my nearsightedness at age 38 (in 1994) and for the next decade I could see great at far, intermediate and near. Starting at about age 48 I began to need reading glasses and today, at 53, I definitely do.
When I perform LASIK on someone over 50 I make absolutely sure there is no other sign of eye disease (glaucoma, cataract,etc) and if all is clear, their cornea is healthy, and they understand they will need readers for some things, then I am comfortable to operate on them. My oldest LASIK patient so far was 84....and she is still doing great!
LASIK surgery and your age
There is no formal age maximum for LASIK surgery however most people over the age of 65 typically will have some evidence of early cataracts. If you have even a small cataract you are likely better off having cataract surgery with a multifocal or accommodating intraocular lens than having LASIK surgery. Unlike LASIK surgery, these premium intraocular lenses can correct both distance and near vision simultaneously by restoring the eye's ability to focus (something all of us start losing in our early 40's).
Never too old to see with LASIK
LASIK can be theoretically performed at any age and there have not been problems associated with advanced age and LASIK. From a practical perspective, prior to cataract surgery, many patients past the age of 70 would benefit more from a lens extraction procedure than LASIK for their visual complaints. After cataract and IOL, a LASIK can be performed to fine tune the vision and this is not age dependent.
Younger patients seem to heal more quickly in this area as in all others, and there can be a longer recovery period in older patients. Also, other medical problems in the elderly may make LASIK less practical.
Too old for LASIK?
As long as the eyes are healthy, LASIK can be performed at any age. I've treated patients in their 90's. I treated Broadway actress Carol Channing when she was in her early 80's.
Older patients have a higher chance of having other eye problems which might disqualify them from being a candidate. Also, older patients with cataracts might be better off having the cataract treated with surgery instead of having LASIK, since properly-performed cataract surgery can also treat refractive errors, and get people out of glasses.
Patients over 40 who have LASIK will generally need glasses for reading, because of the aging of the lens inside the eye (presbyopia). Monovision with LASIK is an option to get around this problem.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.