LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is one of the most common elective procedures in the United States, with as many as 800,000 procedures performed yearly. It has an extremely high success rate, with up to 95% of patients coming out of the surgery with 20/20 vision. But how old do you have to be to be eligible for LASIK?
Let’s discuss how LASIK works, LASIK eye surgery age requirements, the reason for these age requirements, and alternatives if you’re not eligible for LASIK.
How Does LASIK Work?
LASIK is a fast procedure and only takes about 15 minutes to perform.
- Your surgeon will numb your eyes with eye drops and apply a lid speculum to keep your eyes open.
- During the procedure, a femtosecond laser creates a thin flap over the cornea.
- Some of your corneal tissue will be removed using a specialized excimer laser before returning the flap to where it originally was.
- The cornea will heal over the span of a couple of days.
After the procedure, most people notice an improvement in their vision within a few days. Many will have reduced dependency on glasses or contacts or can stop using them altogether.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Get LASIK?
LASIK is effective for adults of all ages. The most common age people get LASIK is in their 20s or 30s, but it’s still effective for people 40 and beyond to undergo the procedure. There’s no upper limit for getting LASIK done; people in their 60’s or 70’s can safely have LASIK performed on them, as well. However, LASIK will stop being effective if the patient develops cataracts.
Teens and young adults generally are not candidates for LASIK. The FDA has only approved LASIK for people 18 and over. However, doctors prefer not to perform the procedure until they’re a little older.
Reasons For Age Requirements
While LASIK is both safe and effective for people who are 18 or older, the effects potentially won’t last if the procedure is performed at younger ages. Many people experience vision changes in their teens and early 20s, which can undo the effects of LASIK over time. Vision doesn’t tend to stabilize until a person is around 25 years old.
Typically, you’re only an appropriate candidate for LASIK between the ages of 18 and 25 if:
- You have a condition that prevents you from wearing glasses or contacts
- You need laser vision correction for a job
- Your vision can’t be corrected without surgery
Read More: How to Prepare For LASIK Eye Surgery
LASIK Alternatives For Younger Ages
While glasses and contacts can be a pain for younger people, they are a safe and effective option for vision correction at that age. Daily contacts are a popular choice as they can work during more physical activities like playing sports, and they’re easy to care for. They also reduce the effects of irritation and infection that can come with longer-wear contacts.
For people 21 or older, EVO Visian ICL Lenses are a great LASIK alternative. An ICL, or Implantable Collamer Lens, is an implantable lens that can correct nearsightedness with or without astigmatism. They’re placed under the iris and can’t be seen or felt after they’re placed.
ICL surgery doesn’t remove any eye tissue or change the structure of the eye. They can also be removed by your doctor if necessary.
LASIK Alternatives For Older Ages
While LASIK is still safe and effective for older ages, refractive lens surgery, or RLE, is a great alternative for those who are over 40 or around 50 if they’re in the early stages of developing cataracts. RLE will prevent future cataract growth as implants cannot form cataracts.
Like LASIK, RLE can also be performed in only 15 minutes per eye. The procedure itself involves removing the natural lens of the eye and replacing it with an IOL.
Expert LASIK at Clear Choice Lasik
If you think LASIK could improve your vision, don’t hesitate to contact the top-tier ophthalmologists in Ohio at Clear Choice LASIK. Our proficient team is ready to guide you every step of the way, from your initial consultation to your post-operative care.
Don’t hesitate to get the clear vision you’ve always wanted.