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LASIK and Teenage Patients: Is It a Good Idea?

Here at Chicago Cornea Consultants™, Ltd., we take all matters concerning refractive surgery and advanced eye care seriously. Procedures such as LASIK are ideal for improving vision and treating refractive errors, and yet not all people who would benefit from LASIK are ideal candidates for it.

We get many questions from teenagers and their parents about LASIK surgery and if it would be ideal for a young patient. We’d like to address these matters in this blog post.

Why LASIK Seems Ideal for Teenagers

One would think that LASIK is an ideal treatment for teenagers since it reduces dependence on corrective lenses (i.e., glasses and contacts).

Teens are more likely to lead active lifestyles, which means that LASIK would allow them to play sports and engage in more leisure activities without having to worry about their glasses. In addition, teens are more likely to feel self-conscious about the need for glasses, which makes LASIK seem like it’s made for them. LASIK is also more convenient than contacts, that’s for sure.

And yet…

Can teenagers undergo LASIK?

The answer is a big NO.

While LASIK seems like it’s ideal for the young, teenagers are almost never considered candidates for LASIK simply given the nature of the surgery and how it reshapes the corneas.

Why is it a bad idea for teens to undergo LASIK?

The biggest reason why teenagers are not good candidates for LASIK is that their eyes are still maturing. LASIK is best when performed on fully matured eyes.

In order to perform LASIK, it’s important that patients have a stable prescription for at least a year. This demonstrates little change in corneal shape and allows the LASIK surgeon to properly revise the contour of the cornea with a laser.

Since teenagers are still growing, their vision is likely to change within a few years. Rather than undergoing LASIK every few years, it is more advisable and makes more sense for LASIK to be performed on a patient who has fully matured and has stable vision.

When is a good age for LASIK surgery?

That can vary from person to person given the nature of their vision.

In general, the mid-to-late twenties tends to be a better time for LASIK. The older the patient is and the more into their adulthood they are, the better candidate the are for LASIK. Keep in mind that this is still contingent on the stability of patient’s prescription over the course of a year.

What alternatives are there to LASIK?

When LASIK and refractive surgery are not on the table for a patient, the best options for vision correction are the old standbys of glasses and contact lenses.

Candidacy for LASIK at a Later Time

If patients have a stable prescription later in life, do not suffer from dry eye syndrome, are not pregnant or nursing, and have good recent eye health free from injury or infection, they may be ideal candidates for LASIK at that time.

During the consultation process, we will be able to discuss candidacy in much greater detail and provide answers to patients with regard to all of their concerns about refractive surgery.

Learn More About Laser Eye Surgery

For more information about LASIK surgery and whether or not it would be an ideal treatment option for you and your needs, be sure to contact our laser eye care center today. We at Chicago Cornea Consultants™, Ltd. look forward to your visit and helping you achieve exceptional eyesight.

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