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Can Teenagers Have LASIK Sugery?

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Updated June 18, 2014

Question: Can Teenagers Have LASIK Sugery?
Answer: Perhaps much to your son or daughter's dismay, LASIK surgery is not recommended for children or teenagers. The FDA strictly prohibits LASIK surgery for those who are not yet 18 years of age. Most reputable eye surgeons will not perform LASIK on a young person until at least the age of 20.

Our eyes continue to change during the teenage years, with vision finally stabilizing in our 20s. Because LASIK permanently alters the shape of the cornea, it is far too risky to perform LASIK on a cornea that is still changing in shape and size. If LASIK were to be performed on a teenager, the procedure would probably have to be repeated when he or she reached early adulthood.

Once old enough for LASIK, surgeons will make certain of two things: A LASIK candidate should have no pre-existing corneal eye disease and should have a stable prescription for at least a year.

In very rare circumstances, the minimum age rules for LASIK may be overlooked to treat children or teens who suffer from lazy eye. There are several ongoing studies regarding the safety and potential benefits of performing refractive surgery on children who are at risk for amblyopia.

Source:

Azar, Dimitri T. and Douglas D. Koch. "LASIK: Fundamentals, Surgical Techniques, and Complications." Marcel Dekker, Inc., pp 102-103. Copyright 2003.

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