Age marks plenty of milestones: driving, voting, working and retiring. But there’s no set age for LASIK. Most providers won’t perform LASIK on those under 18 because eyes tend to keep changing into early adulthood. But laser eye surgery has been performed on children with severe vision problems. These are outliers to most cases. The most common age for LASIK, in fact, falls between the ages of 20 and 40.
LASIK eye surgery age requirement is FDA-approved for those 18 and older. Most providers encourage young adults to wait until their mid-20s because, until this time, a person’s prescription may be still changing. Having a stable prescription for at least two years is often required as proof before anyone, young or old, is deemed a good LASIK candidate. Age certainly influences one’s LASIK candidacy, but it by no means draws an absolute boundary. If you are in good health, have a stable prescription and are considering LASIK, ask a laser vision correction provider to assess your candidacy.
LASIK for 18–24 year olds
Even though young people over age 18 legally able to have LASIK surgery, between ages 18 and 24 our eyesight continues to change. Therefore, it is only after careful consideration of their vision history that an eye surgeon will recommend LASIK surgery for people in this age group. The best candidates for the procedure will have had the same eye glasses or contact lens prescription over several years.
However, there are some people who are considered as ideal candidates at this age for LASIK eye surgery because of their profession. This includes people in law enforcement, the military, or professional athletes. Again, it is only after careful screening that a qualified laser eye surgeon will recommend people in this age group for LASIK.
LASIK for 25–40 year olds
Most eye surgeons agree the ideal lasik surgery age are people between 25–40 years old are the best candidates for LASIK eye surgery. By age 25, our eyes should have stopped changing. Having a stable prescription for at least two years is a general guideline that someone is a good LASIK candidate.
LASIK for 40–55 year olds
After age 40, our eyes begin to change again. At this age, even people who have enjoyed perfect vision their entire lives begin to find themselves needing “reading glasses” to correct their vision.
Fortunately, people in this age range who are in good health may still be good candidates for laser eye surgery. Non-smokers who have taken care of themselves and have no history of medical problems may decide that, like their younger counterparts, the advantages outweigh the cost of LASIK. Even patients who know they may still need reading glasses may opt for the benefits of LASIK to free themselves from glasses or contacts during sports or physical activities.
Other considerations in this age group include a family history of corneal disorders, diabetes and glaucoma. These diseases can lessen a person’s likelihood of being a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery.
LASIK for seniors
While there is no upper age limit that prevents senior from having LASIK surgery, many new factors arise later in life that may make them less than ideal candidates.
One of the most common eye-related issues with the elderly is cataracts. A person who reaches the age of 60 or even 70 with clear eyes can still be a good candidate for LASIK. However, once cataracts begin to develop, they should be treated surgically first.
Note that previous cataract surgery does not mean that a patient cannot later undergo LASIK, LASEK or PRK if they have otherwise healthy eyes.
Other eye-related issue in the elderly is dry eyes, a family history of corneal disorders, diabetes and glaucoma, or drug side effects. Some medications taken by older patients may also pose a problem. You should let your eye surgeon know about any medications you are taking during your consultation.
LASIK may benefit you at any age
While LASIK eye surgery age influences the chances for success, it is only one of many factors. Good overall physical health, your family medical history and a stable prescription are just as important. However, it is only after consulting with an expert eye surgeon that you can discover if LASIK is right for you.