LASIK and Teens
If you are a teenager and you have refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you may already be frustrated with your reliance on eyeglasses and contact lenses to see clearly. You may be interested in a more permanent laser vision correction option such as LASIK. LASIK is a surgical procedure in which surgeons use an excimer laser to reshape the cornea(the clear protective covering of the eye). After achieving the ideal corneal curvature, light can properly reflect on the retina, which in turn will produce clear vision, without the need for visual aids such as contact lenses and glasses. This is a highly successful procedure that has resulted in clear vision for millions of patients.
However, LASIK is not an ideal treatment option for teenagers. Dr. Daniel Goldberg recommends that patients wait until they are adults and have achieved a stable vision prescription before undergoing LASIK surgery. To learn more about LASIK and teens, read on, and then contact our Monmouth County, NJ practice, Atlantic Laser Vision Center.
Why LASIK Is Not Ideal for Teens
The FDA has approved the LASIK procedure for patients age 18 and over. This guideline prevents the need for additional enhancement surgery in the future.
As the eyes develop and grow, the curvature of the cornea changes. These changes in the cornea result in changes to your vision prescription as well. For example, if your cornea continues to steepen in your childhood or teenage years, your distance vision will continue to worsen. When you undergo your next eye test, you will receive an updated prescription that will compensate for these changes in your vision.
LASIK, on the other hand, is intended to be a one-time procedure. If your vision prescription changes after you have undergone LASIK, you would have to undergo an additional surgical procedure to further alter the shape of the cornea. Since the eyes are still growing and the vision prescription often changes in the teenage years, we recommend that patients wait to undergo LASIK.
That being said, each patient is different. The eyes may stop growing in one patient by the age of 18, and in another patient at 20. The general guideline that we recommend is that patients wait until they have had a stable vision prescription for at least two years before undergoing LASIK surgery.
If you undergo LASIK surgery and your vision prescription changes in the next few years, you do have options. Patients can use glasses or contact lenses to fine-tune their vision, or they can undergo a LASIK enhancement procedure to refine the shape of the cornea. During this follow-up procedure, Dr. Goldberg will use special tools to re-lift the flap used in your original LASIK surgery. Once the flap is lifted, the excimer laser can be used to reshape the cornea, as in the primary LASIK procedure. Once the precise shape has been achieved, the flap is closed, and the recovery process can begin.
To find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery, contact Atlantic Laser Vision Center today.