If you are considering your LASIK surgery options, knowing if you qualify for LASIK is a great place to start your laser vision correction journey.
One of the most common questions we hear from patients is how old is too old for LASIK? There’s probably no specific age when you’re too old for LASIK as long as your eyes are healthy. Our LASIK surgeon has performed the life-changing LASIK surgery successfully on patients from 18 to 81 years of age. With advances in technology over time, the number of both older and younger patients qualifying for LASIK has definitely increased. While age is a significant factor in determining your candidacy for LASIK (and exactly what kind of LASIK surgery is best for you), patients in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s with healthy eyes can enjoy their LASIK surgery as much as those in their younger years – especially if your laser eye surgery is being done by an experienced surgeon. It is always a good idea to ask your surgeon how much experience he or she has had performing LASIK on people your age. The answer can be a real “eye-opener”!
Who Is a Good Candidate for LASIK?
During your LASIK consultation, your doctor will look at many factors to determine if LASIK surgery is a good option for you.
To qualify for LASIK, you must be in good overall health and not have a small number of particular conditions such as severe diabetes or active, uncontrolled autoimmune diseases. In some cases, these types of conditions can increase the risk of complications after LASIK surgery or reduce the accuracy of the treatment. If you have any of these types of conditions, your doctor will need to look at your specific medical situation to determine if you can safely have LASIK surgery.
After looking at your overall health and medical history, your doctor will then examine your eyes to look for any eye diseases that could disqualify you for LASIK surgery. Eye conditions like cataracts, chronic dry eye, amblyopia, keratoconus, and strabismus, may mean that LASIK isn’t a good option for you. However, these situations are reviewed in detail on a case-by-case basis by the LASIK surgeon himself who can often create a customized LASIK surgery plan just for your specific eye circumstances if you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery.
Finally, your doctor will then check your prescription and its stability. At LASIK of Nevada, we usually recommend having a stable vision prescription for 12 to 18 months before getting LASIK surgery. This recommendation helps to ensure that you are not likely to have any sudden changes in your prescription that could make LASIK surgery less accurate for you.
How Old Is Too Old for LASIK?
The good news is that as long as you meet the above requirements, it usually doesn’t matter how old you are when you have your LASIK surgery. While certain age-related factors (like very cloudy cataracts) can exclude you from getting LASIK, just because you’re “less young than you used to be” doesn’t necessarily mean that this life-changing procedure isn’t a great option for you. Many of our older patients who have LASIK surgery are some of our happiest LASIK patients since this surgery helps them to maintain their active lifestyles and improve their overall quality of life for many years to come.
Speaking with our LASIK specialists at LASIK of Nevada can help you better understand how your age, health, and medical history will affect your candidacy for LASIK.
What’s a Good Age for LASIK?
LASIK eye surgery is FDA-approved for patients over age 18. If you’re under 18, your eyes are usually still developing (and growing) and your prescription may change frequently during these years. This means that the perfectly successful LASIK surgery performed at age 15 may not be as effective in providing clear vision if the teenager’s eye grows slightly in length and thereby changes the prescription slightly. LASIK surgery requires remaining reasonably still throughout the procedure which can be a significant challenge for younger teens. For this reason, as well, younger teens and children are generally not candidates for laser eye surgery.
The most beneficial age-range for having LASIK surgery is probably between ages 19 and 59 years old. This is typically the age-range where your distance eye prescription has fully stabilized and you can therefore expect LASIK to accurately and predictably correct your vision and also remain stable over time – unless there are significant changes in eye health during this time.
Between 45 and 55 years of age, most people experience normal and expected aging changes in their eyes resulting in increasing difficulty with near vision. This is usually first noticed when reading or looking at smaller fonts on cell phones without using reading glasses. This normal aging process, while of great concern to many people when it is first noticed, does not reflect poor health of your eyes and can be greatly improved or fully corrected with a customized type of LASIK surgery called monovision amongst other options.
After the age of 55, you are considered to be a good candidate for LASIK if you are in good overall health, your eyes are healthy, and you want to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. However, if you have certain age-related eye conditions like visually significant cataracts, LASIK may not be the best option for correcting your vision. We can determine this at the time of your examination, whether such changes will affect the likelihood of achieving an excellent result after LASIK surgery.
Can I Get LASIK If I Have Cataracts
Most patients who are told that they have cataracts do not have “visually significant” cataracts. If you have visually significant cataracts, cataract removal surgery is typically your best option for vision correction. With advancements in cataract surgery, most surgeons can correct refractive errors in your vision with the use of intraocular lens replacements. If you have a cataract that is not visually significant, you still may be an excellent candidate for LASIK surgery after a complete eye exam has determined the degree of lens (cataract) changes that you actually have.
Many people also have minor refractive errors following cataract surgery which can be very successfully treated with LASIK surgery. Discussing your eye health history and vision goals with our ophthalmologist will help you decide if LASIK is a good solution for your post-cataract prescription needs.
What Happens During LASIK Surgery?
During your LASIK surgery, your surgeon will use a laser to correct the shape of your cornea. This part of the procedure takes approximately one minute per eye, and most people are able to drive and go back to work the day after their LASIK surgery. Prior to your LASIK surgery, our LASIK surgeon will walk you through the specifics of what to expect during your LASIK surgery while personalizing this process to suit your needs, We will also discuss what to expect during the recovery process after LASIK surgery with you in great detail. Read more about what to expect when you have LASIK here.
If you’re considering LASIK surgery, contact us at LASIK of Nevada today to discuss your laser eye surgery options.