Correcting your vision with laser eye surgery can be incredibly exciting, especially if you’ve relied on glasses or contact lenses for most of your life. Before you take the plunge, you must know whether you qualify for the procedure. One of the main questions people have is whether there are age limits for laser surgery. Here is what you need to know about age and laser surgery:
The Minimum Age for Laser Eye Surgery
Anyone under 18 is not eligible to have laser eye surgery. A child’s or teenager’s eyes are still developing and changing, making it difficult to predict the result of laser surgery. The recommended minimum age is 21, when most eyes have stopped developing. It’s easier to determine the correct prescription and measure refractive stability in an adult.
Those over 18 and under 21 who have maintained a stable prescription for at least one year may be eligible for laser surgery for their eyes. This is determined on a case-by-case basis. The doctor must be satisfied with the stability of your prescription before considering you as a candidate for this type of eye surgery.
The Maximum Age for Laser Surgery
There is no maximum age limit for laser eye surgery. People in their 70s and 80s have had successful eye surgery. The procedure is almost always safe and effective for anyone above 21. Older patients may face a higher risk of complications due to age-related health conditions.
Your eye doctor will want to assess your overall health before agreeing to perform the surgery. They may suggest other treatments if they feel laser surgery is too risky or not likely to be successful. Discuss any health conditions or medications you take with your doctor before this procedure.
Conditions That Exempt You From Laser Eye Surgery
If you’re over 21 and have a stable prescription, you may still not be eligible for eye laser surgery due to certain health conditions. The following could exempt you from the procedure:
Diabetes and Autoimmune Diseases
Diabetes and autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, require you to take medications that could interfere with healing after eye laser surgery. They’re also known to cause inflammation, which can affect the cornea. You risk developing a corneal infection or abnormal healing, which could result in vision loss.
Pregnancy and Nursing
You must wait at least six months after giving birth or ceasing to nurse before having laser eye surgery. The hormonal changes in your body can affect your vision and make it difficult to achieve a satisfactory result. Your eyes take time to return to their pre-pregnancy state, so it’s best to wait until they have fully stabilized.
Eye diseases, such as glaucoma, keratoconus, and macular degeneration, cause thinning of the cornea, making it more prone to damage. Laser surgery requires a healthy and thick enough cornea to reshape, and these diseases create a risk of vision loss. They can also cause permanent or temporary vision disturbances, making it difficult to measure the needed prescription accurately.
Severe Hyperopia or Presbyopia
Patients with severe hyperopia or presbyopia may not be good candidates for laser surgery as the results can be unpredictable. These conditions cause distortions or irregularities in the cornea, making it difficult to reshape accurately.
Qualifying for the Procedure
Age, stable vision prescription for at least one year, and good overall health are the main factors determining eligibility for laser eye surgery. If you fit these criteria, the decision to proceed with the surgery ultimately lies with you and your eye doctor. If your ophthalmologist determines you’re not eligible for laser surgery, they may suggest other treatments to correct your vision.