Can a 16 Year Old Get ICL?

My vision is slowly stabilizing but I'm 16 and no my vision isn't stable yet, but I'm wondering if it's possible for me to get the surgery now and then get it a second time a year or so later because I heard revision operations are okay. I haven't got new glasses in at least a year more like 1 and 1/2 - 2 years. The reason I want it now is because I have worn glasses since about 2nd or 3rd grade and I have tried contact lenses at least 7 times.. Thanks in advance!

Doctor Answers 1


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there is no indication to perform ICL if another type of refractive surgery is possible, as ICL involves making an incision in your eyeball and putting a plastic lens inside your eyeball, so there is a small risk you go blind from bleeding or infection, or you develop a cataract and the lens needs to be removed along with your natural lens, which would make you not be able to focus up close anymore, so you would need reading glasses

LASIK can treat up to -9, because you cut a flap and use up tissue

i have performed LASEK up to -22 successfully without any scarring, because it is a surface treatment without any flap cutting, so there is more tissue available to laser and thus you can treat higher Rxs

PRK is an outdated surface treatment that I no longer perform because it may scar and also has pain and delayed healing often

at your age, since your Rx will continue to progress until you hit age 29, i would recommend a LASEK, as we could get your full Rx corrected, and then it is very easy and safer to enhance a LASEK than either a LASIK or ICL. i would overcorrect you by a diopter or so, depending on your rate of progression, to allow for that progression without needing an enhancement

FDA recommends waiting until age 18 to get refractive surgery, but this is only a guideline, not a firm rule. i have performed LASEK in patients 16 or 17 as long as their Rx is relatively stable (meaning no more than 0.50 D progression per year for the last 2 years according to FDA, which is a very easy standard to meet), and you agree that you may need an enhancement when you are in your late 20s

i hope this clarifies that there is no indication for ICL unless your Rx is so high other, safer, non-intraocular procedures can't be done

Emil Chynn, MD, MBA

New York Ophthalmologist

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