One of the most common questions we get about LASIK is whether there is a laser eye surgery age limit.
Good news: LASIK can be just as beneficial for older people as it is for their younger counterparts. There is no laser eye surgery age limit. If you have a stable vision prescription, physically healthy eyes, and are otherwise physically healthy, you are probably a good candidate for LASIK. LASIK isn’t about your age, it’s about your health!
Despite this, our eyes and our vision do change and shift over the course of our lives. If you are older and are considering laser eye surgery, there are a few special considerations you need to make.
Why Is There No Laser Eye Surgery Age Limit?
The only laser eye surgery age limit is that every candidate must be 18 or older. In younger people, the eyes and vision may change frequently. It’s important to wait until your vision prescription is no longer changing to think about LASIK.
This is why the only laser eye surgery age limit is a minimum one.
However, as we mentioned earlier, there are multiple considerations when you’re considering LASIK later in life. We’ll talk about some of them below, but the best thing to do when you’re considering laser eye surgery is to talk to your doctor.
What Age Do People Normally Get LASIK?
So, there’s no laser eye surgery age limit. Do older people get LASIK? At what age do people get LASIK most often?
The most common range for LASIK patients is between 20 and 45 years old. That’s a pretty big gap, right?
Vision prescriptions often stabilize in the mid-twenties, so that’s when most people begin considering LASIK. You want to wait until your vision stabilizes before considering LASIK.
Between 45 and 55, the vision begins to change due to age in most people. Many patients begin to have vision issues related to presbyopia, which causes difficulty with near vision.
Presbyopia has to do with a loss of flexibility in the eye’s lens. It is the reason many older people wear reading glasses to see things up close.
LASIK can be an effective treatment for presbyopia.
Beyond age 55, cataracts might start to develop. These cataracts can sometimes affect vision, though not always at first. At that point, cataract extraction surgery may be more useful in improving your vision than LASIK. But there is no reason why LASIK would not improve your vision when cataracts are no longer the issue.
What Factors Impact LASIK Candidacy?
If there is no laser eye surgery age limit, are there factors that affect candidacy?
First of all, let’s talk about the things that LASIK corrects, and how LASIK works.
LASIK is useful in correcting refractive errors in the eyes. These errors are due to changes in the shape of the cornea or lens. When the shapes of these changes, it also changes the way light reflects from the cornea to the retina.
When you look at something, light moves through your cornea and the lens of your eye. The eye then reflects the light to your retina, which interprets the light and helps your brain understand what you are seeing.
When you are nearsighted or farsighted, the light does not fall in the correct spot on your retina. It will fall either above or below the correct spot.
LASIK fixes this by altering the shape of the cornea so that light reflects properly.
Conditions LASIK can remedy include nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.
Eye Conditions That Impact LASIK Candidacy
While there is no laser eye surgery age limit, there are certain conditions that impact your LASIK eligibility. When evaluating a patient for LASIK, Dr. Van Norman would look at the presence or absence of these conditions. Some of these eye conditions include:
Overall Eye Health
If you have an existing condition like dry eye, cataracts, or glaucoma, you may not be a good candidate for LASIK.
Theoretically, a 70-year-old man with healthy eyes could pursue LASIK as vision correction. His 25-year-old granddaughter with keratoconus is not a good candidate for LASIK.
Prime candidates will have few or no preexisting conditions, and their vision will be stable for a year or two prior to the LASIK procedure.
If your pupils are very large, you may experience glares or halos following LASIK surgery. Therefore, it may not be a good fit for your vision issues.
Cornea Thickness and Smoothness
If your cornea is too thin or the surface is an irregular texture, it could compromise the outcome of the surgery and could even result in your vision getting worse.
However, though LASIK is not an option for patients with thinner corneas, that doesn’t mean laser eye surgery isn’t an option. Other laser eye surgery options may be PRK.
You must have the same prescription for at least 12 months, preferably longer.
Hormonal shifts that are associated with pregnancy and lactation could result in dry eye symptoms, which impacts LASIK candidacy.
The medications you are taking can have a direct impact on any surgery, minor or major.
If you aren’t taking any current medications, that’s perfectly fine. However, there are some medications that have side effects or symptoms that make surgery unnecessarily risky.
For instance, there is a medication that treats arrhythmia that can have devastating consequences on your eyes such as corneal ulceration, optic neuropathy, and many others.
Though there is no real laser eye surgery age limit, people do tend to take more medications as they get older.
Contact Shreveport Eye Specialists
There is a laser eye surgery age limit. Despite this, there are many factors that could influence your eligibility for LASIK. If you are considering laser eye surgery in the Shreveport area, call our team at Shreveport Eye Specialists at 318.771.7597. You can also leave us a message on our website.