“Am I too old to have LASIK?” is a good question as there are age-related considerations we would like to share with you.
However, there is no age where your LASIK doctor will say, “Sorry, you’re over the legal age limit to have LASIK” or “You better hurry up and have LASIK before your next birthday!”
When people are considering LASIK, they want to make sure they’re making the right decision about correcting their vision. Everyone wants to ensure that their procedure will be safe and effective. So we will discuss the role age plays in your LASIK candidacy.
LASIK Candidacy Criteria
There are four basic factors for being a good LASIK candidate:
- Be 18 or older
- Have good general health
- Have good ocular (eye-related) health and the correct corneal anatomy for LASIK
- Have a stable prescription within the FDA – approved range for LASIK
The minimum age-related requirement to have LASIK is you must be over 18. Whether you are 67 or 27, you must meet all four factors to be a good candidate.
How Does Age Affect LASIK Candidacy?
Conceivably, a 67-year-old grandfather could have LASIK if he’s in general good health, has no eye disease, and has a stable prescription. His 27-year-old granddaughter, who has keratoconus (a disease of the cornea), is not a good candidate and should to pursue other treatment options.
When you come in for your complimentary consultation, the LASIK surgeons at the 20/20 Institute evaluate your entire visual system. You need to have good eye and general health for the best results from your LASIK procedure.
The Bigger Picture
There’s a lens inside the eye responsible for about one-third of the eye’s focusing power. That lens is responsible for what eye doctors call “accommodation” – the ability to focus at different distances. The eye’s lens undergoes natural changes for all people through life. These changes impact two things with respect to considering LASIK:
- The visual results that you can reasonably expect, and
- The potential that a different procedure may be a better choice
An overview of the basic milestones of our eyes throughout life will help explain these changes.
Milestones of The Eye and Their Impact on LASIK
- Late teens to early twenties: Ocular maturity. Growing up, our eyes grow just like our body does. These changes of the eye can affect a person’s vision. Most people who wear glasses or contacts got their first pair in school. Their prescription probably changed as their eyes changed (sometimes more, sometimes less), until things settled down in their late teens or early twenties.
Impact on LASIK: Having a stable prescription before you have LASIK is important to ensure long-lasting results.
- In the patient’s 40s: Presbyopia. One of the least enjoyable parts being 40 or older is that our up-close vision changes no matter what our history has been. This happens because of changes inside the eye that reduces the lens’ flexibility and reduces our ability to see things clearly.
Impact on LASIK: When patients have LASIK in their forties and beyond, options like monovision should be discussed so the patient has good expectations and know what’s best for them.
- Early 60s and older: clarity changes in the lens – cataracts. These changes happen slower for some, faster for others, and not significantly at all for a small percentage of patients. Diet, tobacco use, UV exposure, genetics, and other things play a role in the development and progression of cataracts.
Impact on LASIK: Cataracts develop at various rates. It’s important to have an eye doctor monitor changes over time to assess the rate of progression. If a patient’s cataracts are impacting vision or will impact vision, LASIK is not a good solution and the cataracts should be addressed directly.
The good news is modern cataract surgery offers options to improve accuracy and visual results, whereby the patient may achieve the same visual result as having LASIK. Patients should discuss options with their doctor if their cataracts are not considered “necessary” to surgically treat.
Your Next Steps
We would be happy to see you for a complimentary consultation at one of our convenient Denver locations. Your visit will be thorough, informative, candid and transparent. If LASIK is not in your best interest, we will connect you with area specialists so you can pursue other options.