At North County Laser Eye Associates, one of the questions we are most commonly asked by prospective patients is
– What is the ideal age for a patient to undergo LASIK?
– Popular variations of that question include
— Am I too young to have LASIK? and
— Am I too old to have LASIK?
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has, with good reason, not approved LASIK to be performed on patients under the age of 18, the truth is that age by itself does not generally preclude anyone from undergoing the procedure. Age may have an effect on the results a person can expect to achieve, however.
LASIK and Patients in Their Late Teens and Early Twenties
Technically, patients are allowed to undergo LASIK as soon as they reach the age of eighteen. This is not, of course, because something magically occurs in their eyes to make them good candidates for LASIK on their eighteenth birthdays. Eighteen is an estimated age for candidacy.
The reason the FDA allows people who are eighteen and above to undergo LASIK is that most people’s eyes have not matured fully before then. One of the most important qualifications for LASIK candidacy is fully developed eyes. Indeed, patients under the age of 21 must be screened very carefully to ensure that their eyes are fully matured, as many people in this age group have not reached this point and are not good candidates for LASIK.
LASIK and Senior Patients
Again, age is not as much a factor in the candidacy of senior patients for LASIK as the health of their eyes. There is no reason that patients in their sixties or seventies with healthy eyes and otherwise good health could not undergo LASIK and expect to achieve excellent results. However, patients who exhibit even the earliest signs of cataracts should probably first undergo cataract surgery, followed by the replacement of their natural lenses with multifocal intraocular lenses, or IOLs. Many seniors are able to achieve outstanding unaided vision at all distances with multifocal IOLs. Those who require fine-tuning of their vision after the placement of multifocal IOLs can actually still undergo LASIK.
Learn More about LASIK and Patient Age
If you would like to learn more about LASIK and patient age, please contact North County Laser Eye Associates today.