Can I still have LASIK in my 50s and 60s?
While the minimum age for LASIK surgery is 18 years old, there is technically no age limit for laser vision correction. Candidacy for LASIK surgery is typically not dependent upon age, but upon the stability and health of the eye. However, there are certain requirements that any patient must meet in order to be determined a good candidate for the procedure.
What Makes a Good LASIK Candidate?
- Your vision must be stable. In other words, your vision prescription must remain the same for a year or more for you to be eligible for the procedure.
- Your eyes must be in good health. Patients with cataracts or with refractive errors that are too severe to be corrected with LASIK procedures would not be eligible for the surgery.
- You should be in good overall health. In addition to healthy eyes, your general health should be good—talk to your eye doctor about any regular use of medicines such as corticosteroids or autoimmune conditions that could impair healing.
How Old is Too Old for LASIK?
Surgeons at The Eye Institute of Utah have performed LASIK on patients in their 50’s and beyond. While there is no cutoff age for LASIK candidacy, there are several reasons why the average age of LASIK patients tops out around 45:
- The risk of developing cataracts increases as we age. While many people do have LASIK after cataract surgery, there is usually a gap of many years between the two procedures and some surgeons prefer to offer a lens-based procedure to patients likely to develop cataracts.
- Presbyopia, which is the age-related loss of near vision, affects most people after the age of 45 and many people require a lens-based procedure to correct that. It is important to note that LASIK is designed to correct vision at one distance – so if you opt to have LASIK to correct your distance vision, you will likely still need to wear reading glasses after surgery.
The Best Kind of LASIK for Older Patients
Patients who do get LASIK in their 50’s or 60’s are likely to get a type called monovision LASIK. In a monovision procedure, one eye is corrected for distance and one eye is corrected for near vision, with the goal of creating a “blended vision” experience that provides better distance vision while also compensating for presbyopia. Monovision needs to be tested with contact lenses to make sure that it works for your vision before considering moving forward with a monovision LASIK procedure.
RLE as a LASIK Alternative
For many patients in their 50’s and 60’s, Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a great vision correction choice that offers long-term success. Rather than correct the shape of the cornea as LASIK does, RLE replaces the eye’s lens with an advanced intraocular lens (IOL) in a procedure that is similar to cataract surgery.
Key Benefits of RLE include:
- Can correct presbyopia in addition to nearsightedness and other refractive errors
- Eliminates the possibility of developing cataracts
- Highly customizable with a variety of premium lens options
Which Vision Correction Option is Right for You?
You can compare vision options, but the best way to find the right option for you is to schedule a consultation appointment with one of our experts. Your surgeon will be able to evaluate your health and vision goals at a consultation and make personalized recommendations.
1 Refractive Surgery Council. Are you a LASIK Candidate? 5 guidelines you should know. Available: https://americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org/general-lasik-candidate-guidelines/ Accessed December 12, 2022.
1 Review of Ophthalmology. Refractive Surgery for Patients over 50. Available: https://www.reviewofophthalmology.com/article/refractive-surgery-for-patients-over-50 Accessed December 12, 2022.