The short answer: You need to be at least 18 years of age to have LASIK surgery. And sometimes it's better to wait longer. the average age at which people undergo a LASIK procedure is between the ages of 20 and 40.
There is no specific age that is considered too old for the surgery, but certain considerations need to be explored in the older population.
Whether or not an individual is eligible for the laser vision correction is decided by the treating ophthalmologist through an array of tests including a comprehensive eye evaluation, ensuring that the chosen surgery is best suited for the patient’s eyes and visual needs. The age criteria for LASIK are more relaxed in today’s date than they were earlier. With increasing patient safety data being pooled from across the world, as well as newer emerging variations of LASIK, these are now evolving to incorporate both the extremes of age.
The FDA approved LASIK for those 18 and over, but it might be best to wait a few more years. Until the age of 24, our eyesight continues to change, so it is not often that a LASIK eye surgeon will recommend the procedure for those under the age of 25 for the general public. Those in the military, law enforcement, and professional athletes may be given special consideration.
Generally speaking, most LASIK eye surgeons agree on 25-40 as the ideal age range for LASIK eye surgery candidacy for a few reasons. By the age of 25, eyeglasses and contact lens prescriptions have most likely stabilized. A stable prescription is one of the hallmarks of a good LASIK candidate. Before the age of 25, your prescription may still be changing.
After age 40, our eyes begin to change again. At this age, even people who have enjoyed perfect vision their entire lives begin to find themselves needing “reading glasses” to correct their vision.
Fortunately, people in this age range who are in good health may still be good candidates for laser eye surgery. Non-smokers who have taken care of themselves and have no history of medical problems may decide that, like their younger counterparts, the advantages outweigh the cost of LASIK. Even patients who know they may still need reading glasses may opt for the benefits of LASIK to free themselves from glasses or contacts during sports or physical activities.
Other considerations in this age group include a family history of corneal disorders, diabetes and glaucoma. These diseases can lessen a person’s likelihood of being a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery.
There isn’t an upper age limit for having laser eye treatment. As you get older, your suitability isn’t determined by your age, but instead by whether or not your eyes are healthy.
If there is evidence of a degenerative condition such as keratoconus, which affects your cornea and leads to it thinning and becoming more conically shaped, you might not be suitable for surgery.
Also, if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, this will need to be taken into consideration. Any conditions that affect the immune system might mean there are complications when you get to the healing stage after surgery. That’s not to say that you definitely won’t be able to have treatment if you have one of these conditions though, as each patient’s circumstances are considered individually.
For any older patient, we will thoroughly check for signs of early cataracts as if this is found, a refractive lens exchange procedure may be more suitable than laser vision correction. However, many people over the age of 50 have laser eye surgery with very successful results.