Can Teens Undergo LASIK Surgery?

April 15, 2015 — by Dr. Gregory Stainer
Tags: Lasik

A woman outdoors beside a treeHere at Southwest Eye Care and Laser, Dr. Gregory A. Stainer and his team always tailor their vision correction treatments to the needs of patients. This is especially important to consider with LASIK, a popular refractive surgery option that enhances your eyesight. Since the procedure involves the surgical reshaping of a patient's corneas, a number of considerations have to be made with regard to candidacy for surgery. One of these considerations is patient age, which we'd like to consider in more detail right now.

Why LASIK Is So Appealing to Teens and Young Adults

LASIK surgery is a highly effective means of treating common refractive errors. You may know these vision issues better by the following names:

  • Myopia (Nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (Farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism

Thanks to LASIK, a patient's vision will be greatly enhanced, and he or she will no longer have to wear glasses or contacts. This independence from corrective lenses allows people to experience a great deal of freedom, no longer having to worry about scratching or damaging their glasses or needing to clean contact lenses and buy more contact solution. If you lead an active lifestyle and play sports, this can also be quite liberating and advantageous.

But can teens undergo LASIK surgery?

No.

While there are many benefits to undergoing LASIK surgery, teenagers are poor candidates for LASIK for a wide variety of reasons.

Why is LASIK a bad idea for teenagers?

For one, a teenager is still growing, and his or her eyes are changing as part of the maturation into adulthood. Since LASIK surgery involves the reshaping of the cornea, it's important that the cornea be fully matured before any changes are made to its shape.

In addition, it's important for a patient to have a stable glasses prescription for at least one year leading into LASIK surgery. With teenagers, they may experience changes in their prescription as they attend college or as part of the maturation process.

In both of these cases, the primary concern is getting the LASIK procedure done right the first time and preventing the need for a secondary surgery or revision procedure later in life. Being conservative and cautious about these matters is the best possible option.

How long should I wait until I undergo LASIK?

This can vary from patient to patient based on a whole host of factors. Generally it's best to wait until a patient is at least 18 years old. At that point, general candidacy for LASIK can be assessed. In many cases, patients will have their LASIK procedure delayed until their early 20s or sometimes later. This can all be discussed during a laser eye surgery consultation at our practice.

Alternatives to LASIK for Teenagers

Since teens cannot undergo LASIK surgery, the most ideal options for enhancing vision during these years of life are glasses and contacts. Rest assured that your glasses frames can look quite stylish, and that contact lenses are even more comfortable today than they were in the past. We will be more than happy to help you find the right eye care solution for your needs and your situation.

Schedule a Consultation at Southwest Eye Care and Laser

For more information on LASIK as well as your many other options available for enhancing the overall quality of your eyesight, be sure to contact our eye care and laser vision correction center today. Dr. Stainer and his entire team look forward to meeting you in person and helping you have excellent vision for years and years to come.

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