LASIK and Teens: What Young Patients Should Know

July 4, 2016 — by ksmmdeye
Tags: Lasik

A young woman smilingOne of the things that sets our West Orange eye care center apart is our focus on customized care. This means paying special attention to the needs of patients and how they can be met. We pride ourselves in this ability to offer tailored treatment, which is especially important for custom LASIK surgery to enhance vision.

LASIK has grown in popularity over the years, and many teenagers express interest in the procedure. Yet as you are about to learn, teens undergoing LASIK surgery may not be ideal.

About LASIK Surgery

LASIK is a form of refractive surgery, which means that it involves reshaping the cornea in order to improve a person's vision. During LASIK, a small flap is created in the topmost layer of the cornea (known as the epithelium). Through this flap, a laser can reshape the corneal contour and enhance vision in the process.

LASIK is ideal for treating refractive errors, which you may know better by the following terms:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism

Please note that there are alternative laser eye surgeries that work on similar principles as LASIK. These are known as PRK and LASEK. While some specifics regarding candidacy differ between LASIK and these alternatives, they are relatively the same.

General Candidates for LASIK

Good candidates for LASIK surgery are people who suffer from refractive errors. They should have corneas of normal thickness and shape and have realistic expectations about the surgery and what it can achieve. It's also important that patients have a stable prescription for at least a year before undergoing LASIK, and that they be free of eye infections and eye injuries for at least a year as well.

People who are pregnant, nursing, or suffer from dry eye syndrome are not good candidates for LASIK or any laser eye surgery procedure.

Can Teenagers Get LASIK Surgery?

No.

Technically teenagers could undergo LASIK surgery, but it would be a bad idea to perform it. Because of this, most people will undergo LASIK later in life, like in their 20s or 30s.

Why Is LASIK a Bad Idea for Teens?

Teenagers are still growing, which means that it's possible for their corneas to change and vision to change as part of the process of maturation. What's more, many teens find changes occur in their prescription during college or in their early twenties. If LASIK is performed too early, an additional LASIK procedure would be needed to correct the patient's vision in adult life.

Rather than forcing a patient to undergo LASIK multiple times, it's best to wait until a patient is older and eligible for LASIK. It's just common sense.

Alternatives to LASIK Surgery for Teens

The best bet for teenagers with refractive error is to rely on corrective prescription lenses, which means good old-fashioned glasses and contacts. LASIK may still be in that teen's future, but for now, they should concentrate on growing up and worry about LASIK later on.

Speak with Our Team of Eye Surgeon Today

If you would like more information about LASIK and whether or not it's the right option for your teenage son or daughter, be sure to contact our team of eye care specialists today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and talking about your eye care options.