If you are thinking about undergoing LASIK surgery, a permanent treatment for refractive errors, you may be considering a number of factors. How much does LASIK cost? Will it hurt? Is the surgery safe? But one thing that many patients don’t consider is how their age will affect their candidacy for LASIK surgery. At Atlantic Laser Vision Center, Dr. Daniel Goldberg discusses with patients how age can play a role in their eligibility for LASIK. To learn more about LASIK and patient age, read on, and then contact our Monmouth County, NJ practice to schedule a LASIK screening appointment with us.

How LASIK Works

When a patient suffers from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, light is unable to reflect directly on the retina due to aberrations in the shape of the cornea. LASIK surgery is intended to correct the shape of the cornea so light reflects properly, thereby producing clear vision. This is accomplished by creating a hinged flap in the epithelial layer of the cornea. An excimer laser can then be used to reshape the underlying stromal layers of the cornea. When the cornea is reshaped to the ideal contours, the flap is closed and will heal on its own.

LASIK and Children

Refractive errors that cause blurry vision commonly develop at a young age. When nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism affect children, they typically wear eyeglasses to address their vision needs. However, some children may feel self conscious about the appearance of their glasses, and wish to find an alternative treatment option.

Unfortunately, LASIK is not an ideal treatment option for children. The eyes continue to grow, change shape, and develop into adulthood. If LASIK is performed before the eyes are finished growing, the cornea may change shape again, resulting in blurry vision and the need for a LASIK enhancement procedure. To avoid this problem, we recommend that patients wait until they are at least 18 years of age before undergoing LASIK surgery.

LASIK and Teens

While teens under the age of 18 should wait to undergo LASIK, patients that are 18 or 19 may be wondering if they can undergo LASIK. The answer is maybe.

We recommend that patients have a stable vision prescription, one that has not changed for at least two years, before undergoing LASIK. If your vision prescription has not changed for this period of time, it is a good indication that the eyes have stopped growing.

LASIK and Adults

Typically, most patients in their early 20s and up are good candidates for LASIK because the eyes have stopped growing. However, as you reach your 40s, 50s, and 60s, there are additional factors to consider.

Patients in their 40s develop presbyopia, an age-related condition that results in blurry near vision. Even if you have undergone LASIK in the past, presbyopia will still develop. Patients with presbyopia may want to consider having one eye corrected for near vision and the other corrected for distance vision, in a procedure known as monovision LASIK. We can discuss this, and other treatment options for presbyopia, during your LASIK screening appointment.

Patients in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, are at higher risk for other eye disorders, which may preclude them from being good LASIK candidates. Conditions such as cataracts may make you a better candidate for alternative procedures, such as the placement of a multifocal IOL.

Dr. Goldberg will examine your eyes and advise you of the most appropriate vision correction treatments in your case. To schedule an appointment, contact Atlantic Laser Vision Center today.