At what age should you be before you undergo Lasik Eye Surgery to correct your vision? Is there any sort of age requirement or age limit to have laser eye surgery?
What is the Ideal Age to Have Lasik Eye Surgery?
Doctor Answers 12
Ideal age for LASIK is when your vision is stable
As a general rule, we recommend that patients are at least 21 years of age for LASIK or PRK vision correction. Some patients have been treated younger than this with excellent and stable results and the minimum is probably 18. More important than age is the health of the eyes and the stability of the refraction. This means that the eyes are no longer changing for the previous year so that the treatment has a higher likelihood of being permanent.
One benefit of being younger is that there are more years to enjoy the benefit of improved vision, the eyes tend to heal quicker and stabilize faster, and there is less side effects with things such as dry eyes. There is also less problems with reading vision than in older patients.
At first LASIK seemed to be most popular with an older demographic of average age around late 30's or early 40's but now we are seeing many more generation Y patients in their 20's who have discovered the benefits of laser vision correction.
The Ideal Age for LASIK
LASIK is FDA approved for patients 18 or older. There is no upper age limit.
- In my practice I prefer to delay the treatment until age 20 to make sure the prescription has stabilized. By that age most patients are no longer exposed to the accommodative stress of school studies, which could cause progression of myopia.
- For patients in their 30’s or 40’s, LASIK is a wonderful procedure, but special consideration must be given to the management of presbyopia (need for reading glasses after 40)
- For patients in their 50 and 60’s LASIK is still safe and effective, but other factors, such as possible cataracts, that start appearing at this age, must be evaluated. In the face of a cataract LASIK will not improve vision and cataract surgery should be considered.
- It is not uncommon for patients to undergo LASIK in their 70’s and 80’s, as an enhancement for premium cataract surgery. I've had many patients have successful LASIK surgery in their 70s and 80s.
Refractive Surgery Perfect Age
I like to wait until patients are at least 21 and I make sure that their prescriptions are stable, so they can enjoy their results longer! It is difficult to pick an ideal age, but anywhere from the mid-20s to 40s is usually reasonable. I was 25 when I had mine done!
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Ideal Age for LASIK
The time for LASIK is when the eye has stopped growing. Boys and girls physically mature at different times. Eye stability is defined by a change of 0.5 diopters of change or less in 12 months in the dilated refraction. Many girls are stable by the age of 18, which is the youngest for which I would normally agree to LASIK. Almost all girls have stopped physically growing by the age of 20 or 21. Boys commonly take another year or two to finish growing and may want to wait until they are 22 or 23 if there has been a change in the previous year's prescription.
If LASIK is performed before the eye is fully matured, it is likely that a fine-tuning or enhancement procedure would need to be performed.
The Ideal Age for LASIK Eye Surgery
An ideal patient is between the ages of 21 and 65, although there are always exceptions.
Your overall health plays a roll into any procedure you have including LASIK so for example if you are a 50 year old with very advanced diabetes and have had some retinal damage, you may not be a candidate for LASIK.
Another example would be if you are 20 years old and have had a stable prescription for glasses or contact lenses for over two years and are perfectly healthy you may very likely be a candidate.
Age and LASIK
We operate on patients from 18 and beyond. There is no ideal age, but it is important to have a stable prescription and of course healthy eyes. The demographics in our practice have shifted over the years and now there are many patients in their low 20's having surgery, likely the sons and daughters of prior patients years back. Once you are over 40 or so, you will need to use readers which magnify for up close vision, as LASIK cannot fix this aging issue. Average age for LASIK in US is around 38 or 39 but has been shifting younger over the past several years.
18 is the minimum age for LASIK
A stable prescription and healthy eyes are a prerequisite for laser vision correction especially at this age.
Age limit for LASIK LASEK
FDA suggests 18 as the youngest age for LASIK. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, it's just because if you're younger than your Rx is PROBABLY NOT ALWAYS changing too quickly to allow the surgeon to accurately predict how you will wind up when stable, so he cannot figure out what # to enter into the laser.
That said, I have done LASEK on a very responsible young man who flew all the way to USA from Switzerland to see me, his Rx was pretty stable, and most importantly, he was VERY RESPONSIBLE AND MATURE AND I COULD TRUST HIM TO FOLLOW ALL OF MY POSTOP INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER.
I did LASEK on him and he wound up 20/20 and I properly overcorrected him for age based on my nomogram of 15,000 cases, appropriately considered his profession and education (he said he was going eventually going to grad school, so I know people like this will be reading a lot so their myopia will progress so I have to over-correct them more than the average person or they will progress more and wind up undercorrected).
So in Xmas 2010, about 8 years after his LASEK by me, I got a card from him and his family, as he just graduated from Harvard Business School and is STILL 20/20.
So you're really never too young to get LASEK--as long as you go to a surgeon with sufficient experience, expertise, and confidence to properly over-correct you for age (and profession, education, etc.)
The best age to have LASIK
My criteria for performing LASIK on a patient is pretty cut and dry. I operate on males a little later than females, as I feel men tend to continue growing for an additional year or so, compared to females. Ideally, after confirming the patients eyes are stable, I will perform LASIK on females over the age of 18(but I prefer 21) amd males over the age of 21(but I prefer 23). I still make my decisions case by case, and if a patient has really really bad nearsightedness, I will likely wait an extra year or two just to be sure their vision is stable.
Between the ages of 25 and 55 is the sweet spot. The eyes are stable and, usually, there is no pathology in the eye. For those over 60 I look very closely for any signs of beginning cataracts, and provided all looks good, I see no reason not to do LASIK. My oldest LASIK patient so far has been 84! LASIK can also be performed on patients who have had cataract surgery, if their vison with the implanted lens is not perfect and they want laser treatment to get them closer to spectacle independence.
So, in reality, the age range for LASIK is very wide!
Laser vision correction and age restrictions
In the US you have to be over the age of 21 to have laser vision correction surgery. Other than that there are no formal age restrictions. Young people in their early 20's should be sure their prescriptions are stable and their eyes aren't changing before having vision correction surgery. Those who are older than 65 should be sure that they don't have early cataracts before proceding with the surgery. Of course your surgeon should screen you for both of these.
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.