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We understand why it may be appealing to having LASIK as a teenager –you can eliminate the need to wear glasses or contacts during an active teen lifestyle, reduce expenses of glasses & contacts, it’s a minimally-invasive procedure with no bandages or scarring afterwards, and it just seems pretty “old fashioned” to wear glasses or contacts with today’s technology. However, having LASIK before your eyes are fully matured – meaning your prescription is still regularly changing – can result in shorter longevity of a successful procedure. So, is your teen ready for LASIK surgery?

Why LASIK Isn’t Available for Teenagers

The FDA Minimum Age for LASIK is 18 Years Old

According to the FDA, the minimum age to qualify for LASIK surgery is 18 years old. This is because there are no lasers approved for use on people under the age of 18.

Teenagers’ Eyes are Still Changing

Patients whose contact lens or glasses prescription have changed in the past year are not ideal candidates for LASIK. This is called refractive instability. Each person is different and one’s refraction stabilizes anywhere from late teens but sometimes not until late 20s. Refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism should be deemed stable by your eye doctor and potential LASIK surgeon before undergoing LASIK surgery.

Their LASIK Results May Not Have as Much Longevity

Ideally, you should not need to have LASIK surgery twice, and younger patients whose vision is not verified as stable are more likely to require a second LASIK surgery. By waiting until their vision is fully matured and stable, the procedure will have tremendous longevity, upwards of 20 years!

When is the Right Age to Get LASIK?

There is no set age that is the ideal time to get LASIK – every patient’s eyes and life circumstances are different. You’ll need to consult with your own eye doctor and a reputable LASIK surgeon to determine if your teen’s eyes are mature enough for LASIK. This will help ensure longer-lasting results and prevent the need for a second LASIK surgery later down the road.

Are There Any Circumstances LASIK is Appropriate Even if Vision is Not Stable?

Yes, there are certain circumstances that having LASIK at a young age, even though a second procedure may be needed in the future, makes sense. If a young person is:

  • Joining the military and has a specific vision requirement.
  • Being deployed by the military and glasses and/or contacts are unsafe.
  • An athlete whose intolerance for glasses and contacts is impacting their future career.

These patients will need to make a joint decision with their LASIK surgeon to determine if this is the right time in their life to have their vision surgically corrected knowing that a second procedure may be required in the future.

Depending on the state of your eyes and your specific vision needs, the ideal age for you to have LASIK surgery can range from your late teens to your late fifties. In your sixties and beyond, cataracts and other age-related eye conditions start to develop, so LASIK may not be the best option. The only surefire way to know if you or your teen is ready for LASIK? Get a consultation with a trusted LASIK surgeon, not a general eye care provider or ophthalmic technician. Finding the right LASIK surgeon means researching, being personally evaluated by them, paying attention to their reviews and making sure they don’t perform LASIK on everyone who seeks a consultation, because not everybody is an ideal candidate – especially teens!

Want to find out if you’re ready for LASIK?

Schedule a free LASIK consultation today and let our expert surgeons determine if you’re an ideal candidate for LASIK.

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