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Minimum Age for LASIK: What Is It & Why?

The minimum age for LASIK is 18 years old, but many LASIK providers recommend that patients wait until their mid-20s. At that point, most people’s vision has stabilized, which decreases the likelihood of vision changes after LASIK.

Why Does Age Matter for LASIK?

The FDA has only approved LASIK for those who are at least 18 years old. This is because vision continues to shift until early adulthood. If a child or teen were to get LASIK, there is a high likelihood that their vision would change in the future, and this could lead to unpredictable results.

Since LASIK can only be done when there is sufficient corneal tissue, repeated LASIK procedures are not ideal. As a result, it’s best to wait until your vision has fully stabilized for LASIK.

Some surgeons won’t perform LASIK on patients under 21 or even under 25 due to this issue.

LASIK by Age

While LASIK is FDA approved for those 18 and older, certain offices may have different criteria for their patients. 

LASIK at 18–24 Years Old

While you can get LASIK eye surgery at 18 years old, it’s best to wait until you are at least 21 years old. It’s ideal to even wait until you’re 25. At this point, your vision has fully stabilized, and you are more likely to be satisfied with the long-term results of LASIK.

LASIK at 25–40 Years Old

This is often considered the ideal age range to get LASIK. Your vision correction prescription has likely fully stabilized by this age, so you have the highest likelihood of enjoying long-term results from the procedure.

LASIK at 40–50 Years Old

You may still be a good candidate for LASIK during this time period, but it’s more likely that you’ll begin to deal with presbyopia or age-related farsightedness during this decade. If you are, you may be a candidate for monovision LASIK, in which one eye is corrected for distance vision and one eye is corrected for close vision. 

If you opt for traditional LASIK to correct nearsightedness, you might require reading glasses as you age. LASIK doesn’t correct for future vision changes, such as presbyopia.

LASIK for Those 56+

There is no upper age limit for LASIK. If a surgeon deems you in good health with a stable prescription and no eye health issues that prevent you from LASIK , you are a good candidate for the surgery.

In the senior population, cataracts are the primary condition that may prevent you from LASIK. Dry eyes are also more likely with age, so talk to your surgeon about the potential for this condition to worsen with LASIK. 

You are also likely to have presbyopia by this point, so monovision LASIK may be the right choice for you. 

At What Age Should You Get LASIK?

If you are over 18 and would like vision correction surgery, talk to your doctor about your options. The ideal age range is 25 to 40 years old, but if you fall outside that range, you still have options. 

Many people who are 60+ get LASIK if they are in good health and meet the other criteria for LASIK.

LASIK Age FAQs

What is the ideal age for LASIK?

Most surgeons consider 25 to 40 years old to be the ideal age range for LASIK. Your prescription is stable at this time, and you can enjoy long-term results from surgery.

What is the minimum age for LASIK?

The FDA has only approved LASIK for those 18 years old and up.

What is the maximum age for LASIK?

There is no upper age limit for LASIK. Talk to your doctor about whether you are a good candidate for the procedure.

Is 50 too late for LASIK?

No, there is no upper age limit for LASIK. If your prescription is stable and your eyes are healthy, you can enjoy the results from LASIK at 50 or older. Talk to your doctor about your options.

References

  1. When Is LASIK Not for Me? (July 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  2. When Is Refractive Surgery Right for Children? (July 2010). Review of Ophthalmology.

  3. LASIK Surgery in Children. (January 2004). British Journal of Ophthalmology.

  4. Refractive Surgery in Children: Narrow Indications and Improved Quality of Life. (November 2013). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  5. Micro-Monovision LASIK as a Treatment for Presbyopia. (June 2015). Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.

  6. LASIK and Age: Pushing the Limits. American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  7. Effect of Age on Visual and Refractive Results after LASIK: Mechanical Microkeratome Versus Femtosecond Laser. (March 2019). International Journal of Ophthalmology.

  8. The Relationship Between Patient Age and Residual Refractive Error After Uneventful Laser in Situ Keratomileusis for Moderate-to-High Hyperopia. (June 2020). European Journal of Ophthalmology.

  9. Prevalence of Dry Eye Disease in the Elderly. (September 2020). Medicine.

  10. Aging: A Predisposition to Dry Eyes. (August 2014). Journal of Ophthalmology.

Last Updated September 7, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.