Dr. Abrams Blog

Are You A Good Candidate For LASIK?

By September 5, 2014 March 8th, 2016 No Comments
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Are You A Good Candidate For LASIK?

Age marks many important milestones. Driving, voting and retirement are three that come to mind. Some health problems and treatments are also age-related. However, there is no set age for LASIK eye surgery.

In most cases, an ophthalmologist will not perform LASIK on children under 18 because of their changing eyes. At age 60, eyes change again and some people develop cataracts. Despite the exceptions, doctors have performed laser eye surgery on children and octogenarians alike – and with much success.

What is LASIK Surgery?

LASIK is used to correct certain vision problems: myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the procedure for people 18 or older. Most ophthalmologists encourage young patients to wait until their mid-20s before considering surgery. A stable prescription for at least two years is a LASIK requirement.

Adults in their 20s and 30s are most likely to consider laser eye surgery. Not only are they working and growing their savings, but many are also irritated with their eyeglasses and contact lenses. As long as they have healthy eyes and a stable prescription, LASIK is a viable option.

LASIK and Older Patients

Eyes start to change around age 40. Many middle-aged people need reading glasses due to a condition called presbyopia. LASIK cannot correct presbyopia, but surgery can create monovision by correcting one eye for near vision and the other for distance vision.

At age 60, eyes change again and the risk for cataracts increases. However, some people get to age 70 or 80 with healthy eyes and no cataracts. Although this age is outside the normal LASIK age spectrum, seniors can still be good candidates for surgery. In fact, someone in his or her 70s with no cataracts or other eye conditions is a better LASIK candidate than a 30-year-old with dry eyes and diabetes.

Special LASIK Concerns

Dry eyes are a concern for anyone considering laser eye surgery. They are especially common in menopausal women. People in this group require pretreatment with eye drops before they can undergo surgery.

Corneal basement membrane disease is another midlife concern. This condition involves unhealthy epithelial cells that can slough off during surgery, and visual recovery is delayed as the wounds heal. People with this condition get better results from photorefractive keratechtomy (PRK) than LASIK.

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