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Can My Teen Get LASIK Surgery?

By William Holcomb on October 14, 2016


Group of teensLASIK is the most frequently performed laser vision correction surgery. Each year, the number of patients who turn to LASIK surgery for vision improvement continues to grow. LASIK corrects the most common forms of refractive errors by reshaping the cornea. It provides effective, long-lasting results and, in many cases, completely frees a patient from dependency on glasses and contact lenses. The freedom, convenience, and effectiveness of LASIK surgery cannot be matched.

With all that LASIK surgery has to offer, it has become a highly sought-after treatment for patients of all ages. One group of patients with a growing interest in LASIK treatment is teens. Dr. William E. Holcomb discusses whether LASIK is right for teens at his Madison, WI laser eye surgery center.

Determining LASIK Candidacy

LASIK treatment is a safe, effective procedure that requires minimal recovery. Because the risks of LASIK surgery are so low, most patients are ideal candidates for this procedure. There are just a few requirements that must be met before a patient can undergo LASIK surgery, including the following:

  • The patient must be in good overall health
  • The patient must not be pregnant or nursing
  • The patient must have corneas that are thick enough to accommodate the creation of a corneal flap
  • The patient must be at least 18 years of age

Why Isn’t LASIK Right for Teens?

Even if a patient meets all other LASIK requirements, they may not undergo treatment until they are at least 18 years old. Many teens are disappointed to learn of this requirement. However, this guideline has been set with the patient’s best interest in mind.

Just like other areas of the body, the eyes are continually changing and growing. The eyes usually do not mature until a patient has reached the age of 18, and in many cases, it can take even longer. The best way to measure the maturity of eyes is through an evaluation of the patient’s vision prescription. As long as the vision prescription is changing, it means that the eyes have not stopped growing.

Ultimately, the most important sign of eye maturity in determining LASIK candidacy is a steady vision prescription. Even once a patient has reached the age of 18 they will not be considered an ideal LASIK candidate until they have a vision prescription that has remained steady for a minimum of one year.

Vision Treatment for Teens

Because teens are not candidates for LASIK surgery, they will have to rely on other forms of vision treatment until the eyes have reached the point that LASIK is appropriate. There are other laser vision correction procedures aside from LASIK, but each of these also require that patients have a vision prescription that has remained steady for at least a year. The best vision treatment for teens remains traditional prescription lenses in the form of glasses or contact lenses. Although they are not as convenient as LASIK, prescription lenses can provide teens with clear, crisp vision.

Schedule an Appointment

At Holcomb Laser Center, we offer a wide range of vision correction procedures. If you are interested in learning more about LASIK or our other vision treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. William E. Holcomb at your earliest convenience.

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