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Why should you wait until you’re 18-21 for laser eye surgery?

Posted: Jul 30 2018

LASIK, laser eye surgery is FDA-approved for those aged 18 and older and you will find the vast majority of clinics will not perform laser eye surgery on those under 18 years of age.

The reason for this is because your eyes tend to keep changing into early adulthood. Often, people are encouraged to wait until their mid-twenties because, until this age, it is likely your prescription may still be changing.

As well as being at least 18 you will be required to have had a stable prescription for 2 years prior to laser eye surgery. This is another reason you may have to wait before undergoing surgery. Even as an adult your prescription may change, in this case you will still have to wait until your prescription has stabilised.

At OCL Vision our minimum age for laser eye surgery is usually 21. There are exceptions where we operate on patients between the age of 18-21 if they have had a stable prescription for a couple of years. However, we do highly recommend waiting until at least 21 to ensure the results you get from your laser procedure will last for as long as possible.

We appreciate that some people are desperate to get out of glasses or contact lenses as soon as possible but sometimes waiting for the right moment is the best option and could save you from further surgery in the future.

If you do undergo laser eye surgery in your teens, the likelihood of requiring an enhancement procedure later on is increased. Whether further surgery is possible will depend on how much treatment is required and how much room there is to perform the surgery safely. This will be determined following further detailed tests.

At the age of 40 your eyes start to change again. Everyone eventually develops presbyopia; this is where the muscles in the eye stiffen and your eyes find it hard to adjust for reading. As this process sets in, we start holding things further away in order to read them. Eventually, we all succumb to the need for reading glasses. LASIK does not prevent ageing of the eyes so it does not reduce your chance of developing presbyopia. However, there is a specific type of laser treatment available for reading vision correction.

Monovision or blended vision is a common laser procedure carried out on patients in the 40+ age group. In this procedure, we correct one eye for distance and the other eye for reading. After a period of adaptation, the brain enables the two eyes to work together so you are able to focus on objects both near and far.

If you are interested in booking an initial consultation for laser eye surgery we can assess your suitability from the age of 18 upwards.


Are you feeling unsure? Don’t worry, we’re here to advise you. Click here to get in touch with our expert team and we can answer your questions.

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Do you want to learn more? You can read more about the risks of LASIK surgery to understand more about possible risks and side-effects.

LASIK surgery