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What Age is Best for LASIK
“Am I too young or too old for LASIK?” are common questions we hear from patients. The quick answer is that once you reach 18 years of age you are potentially a good LASIK patient. On the other end of the spectrum, although at age 60, LASIK may be an option for you, there could be a different procedure that would be the recommended surgery at this stage of life.
LASIK works by using a laser to reshape the cornea, the clear layer over the colored part of they eye. This allows the correction of a person’s nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.
A patient wants to wait until they reach ocular maturity before having LAISK. This is the stage in the eye’s development where one’s glasses prescription has reached stability. Typically, this occurs between 18 to 21 years of age. At this stage the eye has stopped growing and one’s vision is typically stable until they reach presbyopia in their mid 40s.
To learn more about presbyopia, see our previous blog that explains presbyopia in detail. https://www.summiteyekc.com/blog/struggling-to-read-now-that-you-are-45-welcome-to-presbyopia
When one reaches the presbyopia, LASIK is still a great option. One needs to consider what their goal is from the surgery at this point. If the goal is to simply see your best at distance without the dependence of glasses or contact lenses, then correcting one’s vision fully for maximum distance vision is a great idea. You will then use over-the-counter reading glasses as needed for near tasks. If getting away from reading glasses for as many things as possible is a goal, monovision is a great option. With monovision, the patient’s dominant eye is corrected to see its best at distance and the patient’s non-dominant eye is left a bit nearsighted to maintain the ability to see at near for certain tasks.
As a person approaches 60 years of age, one is getting closer to needing cataract surgery. As a result, a lens based procedure like a refractive lens exchange is likely a better option than LASIK. A refractive lens exchange can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. With this type of surgery, the natural lens is removed from the eye and replaced with a lens implant similar to what is done with cataract surgery...eliminating the need for cataract surgery in the future. The lens choices can leave a person with good distance vision and using over-the-counter reading glasses for near tasks, a person can receive a monovision result similar to LASIK or a person can select an extended depth of focus or multifocal lens to provide both distance and near vision in each eye.
Some patients who have had cataract surgery still wear glasses for distance and near tasks. This is often because they chose to go with a lens implant that did not correct any astigmatism that they had prior to cataract surgery or chose a lens that only corrects distance vision. In patients such as this, LASIK is a potential option to improve one’s vision without glasses for distance and/or near tasks.
In summary, anyone over the age of 18 could potentially benefit from LASIK. What the patient needs is a thorough evaluation of their visual system and the health of their eyes. This allows the doctor to determine if refractive surgery is a good option for the patient and if so, what type of treatment would most benefit the patient. The goal is to provide a treatment that is tailored to each individual’s unique situation.