One of the most commonly asked questions about laser eye surgery is whether or not there are any age restrictions? Laser eye surgery is the UK’s more common elective surgery and approximately 80% of the population are suitable.
Whilst there are no upper age restrictions to having the surgery, the minimum age one can have the treatment is 18 years old and some clinics may insist that you are 21 years old. There following illustrates the issues surrounding age and laser eye surgery:
Minimum Age For Laser Eye Surgery:
The reason there is a minimum age restriction is due to the fact that up until about 18 years old most people’s eyes are still changing and therefore the prescription is unlikely to be stable. If you have laser eye surgery when you prescription is not stable you treatment will not be long lasting. What is more important however than your actual age is whether or not your prescription is stable. A surgeon would much rather treat an 18 year old with a stable prescription than a 21 year old with a changing prescription. It is for this reason that your surgeon will insist on seeing all your previous prescriptions so they can assess your stability.
Upper Age Limit For Laser Eye Surgery:
In theory there is no upper age limit to laser eye surgery and providing your eyes are healthy it is perfectly plausible for an 80 year old to have the procedure. However, as we get older the chances of us developing cataracts becomes greater and most people in their 70’s have cataracts to some degree. Whilst there is no danger performing laser eye surgery on someone who has cataracts, the problem lies in the fact that cataracts often change a person’s prescription. This means that performing laser eye surgery on someone who has cataracts is unlikely to result in a long lasting correction.
In summary, whilst there is no upper age limit for laser eye surgery it is fairly unlikely that anyone over the age of 75 year old will be suitable for the procedure. Above this age the best visual correction is likely to be refractive lens exchange as this procedure eliminates the prescription in your glasses whilst also removing any cataract that is present. The Lower age limit is typically 18 years old but the most important factor is the stability of the prescription.
The best way to know for certain whether you are suitable for laser eye surgery is to go for a consultation at your preferred clinic.