How Old Do You Have To Be To Get LASIK?
The short answer: You need to be at least 18 years of age to have LASIK surgery. And sometimes it's better to wait longer.
Primarily, the reason there's a minimum age requirement for LASIK is to increase the likelihood that your eyes are stable and your refractive error — the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism you have — is unlikely to worsen after you have your LASIK surgery.
In particular, most people who are interested in LASIK are nearsighted, and myopia tends to worsen throughout childhood and even into early adulthood. It's best for you to have annual eye exams for at least two years prior to LASIK surgery and for your eyeglass prescription to be stable (less than +/-0.50 diopter change) for at least one year before proceeding with surgery.
If your myopia does worsen after LASIK surgery, a follow-up procedure called a LASIK enhancement usually can be performed to restore clear vision. But making sure your refractive error is stable before your primary LASIK surgery is preferable.
About the Author: Vance Thompson, MD, FACS, is the director of refractive surgery at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also is professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine, a leading researcher in technologies for laser and implant vision correction and a member of All About Vision's editorial advisory board.
Page updated March 2018