Laser eye surgery is a successful, safe, and one of the most effective eye surgery in the last decade. But not all are eligible to have this surgery. Among different criteria, one is the age issue. In this article, you will have a clear idea about the age range of laser eye surgery.
Before we get into the age issue, it is only fair to first get a good idea about laser eye surgery.
Laser eye surgery is an eye surgery where the laser is used to reshape the cornea or corneal tissues in the human eye. This procedure, if successful, is so effective that afterward, you will not need to wear eyeglasses or contact lens. And you will most likely regain your 20-20 vision.
This is the perfect surgery for people who have had enough and are just tired of using eyeglasses or contact lens. However, not every glass wearing person is suitable or fit to undergo this surgery. There are many different factors that could prevent you from having this surgery.
The one important factor is age. Although this was a bit confusing ten-fifteen years ago, nowadays the experts have cleared up this confusion. And so our main aim here will be to provide you with the right info about the age limit.
Sorry, You Are Too Young!
The general rule is that people under the age of 18 are not legally allowed to have this surgery. But there have been reports and you might have seen or read them also, reports about under 18s having this surgery. If this is true then how do we reconcile?
Well, it is pretty simple actually. If the one under the age of 18 absolutely requires this surgery, and it is the only way to better their eyes at that time then it is not illegal to have the surgery (even though they are below 18).
But the question is why? Why are under 18s not allowed to have this surgery? That is another big question that a lot of people have.
The problem with people that young is their eyes. The eyes at that young age do not develop well. They are still on the development stage. And what happens at the development stage? There is no stability. There are continuous changes that are made.
This is exactly the case with the eyes of people under the age of 18. Their eyes go through significant changes in this stage. And this is a problem that you cannot have if you want to have the laser eye surgery. That is why the experts agree that you are just too young to have this surgery if you are below eighteen.
Eighteen Is Okay?
Fine, we get that it is not okay to have this surgery if age is below eighteen. But eighteen is fine, isn’t it? Ummm… Well, it depends.
The general rule is that you have to be eighteen. But it is the minimum age, the least age. It is not the standard or ideal age. It normally depends on a few things.
Your condition is one of them. As explained earlier, the eyes condition keeps on changing or developing before the age of eighteen. But it could continue beyond the age of eighteen. That is why there are many experts who advise and say that even eighteen years old should not have this surgery.
So what generally happens is that your doctor will examine your eyes anyway. Then if your eyes seem to be still not stable then you will not be allowed to have the surgery.
Also, there are surgeons who will not even bother to examine you. That is because in their mind you cannot have this surgery before the age of 21. Now the question is why 21? We will see on the next point.
The Ideal Age
Generally, the experts agree that the best age for LASIK or any laser eye surgery is twenty to forty. Why this age then?
Just like the shape of our different body parts changes with age, our eyes also change. And at one point, like other body parts, they stop and become stable.
The age when the eyes stop changing or start becoming stable is thought to be from twenty. It is most likely that your eye prescription will find steady condition from twenty years of age. And a big requirement for having the surgery is to have a stable eye condition.
This stable condition of your eyes is most likely to continue up until age forty. Then the eyes again start showing signs of alteration. For this simple reason, most surgeons have decided that this age range is the ideal one for laser eye surgery.
But again there are some who will still differ. Some make it a possibility that the eyes could continue changing up until 25, before finally stabilizing. In their mind, the best or ideal range is twenty-five to forty.
Nevertheless, as long as your eyes are stable and the prescription does not change for at least a year then you are eligible to continue with the undergoing of the surgery.
Too Old For the Surgery?
Whether the ideal age is from 20-40 or 25-40, the good news is that you can never be too old to have this surgery.
After some long years of stability, the eyes again start to change at the onset of forty years. This is why this surgery is actually pretty common among the old people.
Have you not seen your grandpa? Ever wondered why they wear eyeglasses at that kind of age even though they had perfect vision their whole life? This is because of the changes that start to happen in their eyes. That is why you see them needing eyeglasses to read newspaper or books.
Laser eye surgery is perfect for them and also has become common in their cases. But even though you cannot be too old, you can still have problems that will rule you out as a candidate for this surgery. We will discuss them on the next point.
Eligible but Still…
So it is a good thing that you are above forty but could still not be a good thing. Let me explain what I am talking about.
Yes, it is true that the above forty age will make you eligible for the surgery. But there are other problems. With age, the body wears. And your eyes are no exception to this law of nature.
There are a number of eye defects and health issues that are widely seen in elder people. These will be nothing but obstacles in preventing you from having the surgery. We’ll mention some of them here.
Presbyopia. This is an eye defect disease that makes your eyes lose the ability to focus on near objects. It could also occur in middle age people. As a result of it, you see old people wearing glasses when they read.
If you have presbyopia then you cannot have laser eye surgery. You have to treat the presbyopia first and then you can have laser focused into your eyes.
Cataract. It is another common disease found in aged people. It decreases vision. The reason it decreases vision is the gradual cloudiness of lens in the eyes. This kind of disease, if found, needs to be treated first before doing the laser surgery.
There are also other health issues that develop at a later age. Diabetes, keratoconus, lupus, dry eyes, corneal irregularity, etc. are more of the diseases that will disqualify you as a candidate of laser eye surgery.
It is Not About Age Only
Even though there is an aspect of age requirement to have this surgery, it is most definitely not the only aspect. There are other aspects involved too.
And also remember that the age limit discussed in the article is not absolutely binding. You could be even below the required age, but your eye condition could be perfect. And so there is no reason for you to sit at home and not go through with this surgery.
If you have a good health condition, your eyes seem to be stable, prescriptions are not changing then do not wait. Go to your doctor or vision correction provider and discuss if you can have the surgery.
And finally, remember that the best time to have laser eye surgery is when your eyes have been stable for at least a year or two. And if we are discussing on age terms then this generally happens, with slight changes, from twenty to forty.