LASIK and Age - Important Considerations

By William Holcomb on August 11, 2016

A close-up image of an eyeWhen it comes to the correction of refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, LASIK surgery is the gold standard in terms of your treatment options. While LASIK is considered to be one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures today, there are some factors that patients should consider before deciding that LASIK is the right treatment for them. One of these considerations is the age of the LASIK patients. At Holcomb Laser Center, Dr. William E. Holcomb only performs LASIK on patients that are likely to achieve excellent results with a reduced risk of complications. For patients in certain age groups, such as teens and seniors, LASIK may not provide ideal results. In this blog post, Dr. Holcomb discusses how age affects LASIK candidacy so our Madison, WI patients understand why LASIK may not be right for them.

LASIK and Children

Dr. Holcomb performs LASIK surgery according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. The FDA has approved the excimer laser used in LASIK surgery for patients 18 and over. Therefore, children are not considered good candidates for LASIK surgery. Children that are interested in undergoing LASIK must wait until they are at least 18 years of age before undergoing treatment.

LASIK and Teens

While is possible that older teens aged 18 and 19 may be considered for LASIK, age is not the only factor the plays a role in LASIK candidacy. The FDA has set the age minimum at 18 because the eyes are typically still growing up until this point in life. As the eyes grow, corneal aberrations may change and worsen. If patients undergo LASIK before the eyes are finished growing, they may require a LASIK enhancement procedure to refine their vision at a later date.

Still, just because patients are 18 doesn’t mean they are good candidates for LASIK surgery. Instead, we want to see that patients have had the same vision prescription for at least two years before they undergo LASIK. A stable prescription is a sign that the eyes have finished growing.

LASIK and Adults

By the time patients reach their 20s, they are likely to be good candidates for LASIK. Undergoing LASIK in your 20s is ideal because the eyes should be finished growing at this point, and age-related vision problems usually don’t develop until patients reach their 40s.

Once you reach your 40s, presbyopia, or age-related farsightedness may affect your vision. Once presbyopia develops, you may need reading glasses or another surgical treatment to improve your vision.

LASIK and Seniors

As long as seniors are in good health, they may be considered good candidates for LASIK surgery. However, many seniors develop other eye conditions, such as cataracts, that require alternative treatment. For example, if you have cataract, we may recommend cataract removal, along with placement of a multifocal lens. Dr. Holcomb will perform a complete exam to determine which vision correction procedures are best suited to your needs.

To find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK, contact Holcomb Laser Center today.

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