We have all heard of “Home Improvement” and now more and more Americans are practicing “Body Improvement” and when they do they are not ruling out elective surgery as a viable option.
Think you are too old for Lasik, think again. The population in the United States is living longer and more of these older Americans are wealthier than ever before and more conscious of their quality of life. Because of this many are seeking elective surgeries such as Lasik to improve their aging eye sight and consequently improve their quality of life. And they can. There is no upper age limit for Lasik.
There are 1 million patients for Lasik per year in the United States and once you are over the age of 18 all you must do is meet the requirements for Lasik surgery to be approved. A 73 year old or even an 85 year old is not automatically denied surgery if your eyes meet the criteria.
Most Prevalent Criteria: (These are general guidelines. You will need to obtain a specific list from your surgeon or ophthalmologist).
- At least 18 years of age. Eyes must be fully developed, this may not happen until after 21.
- No eye infections or injuries for at least a year.
- Must be able to stare at a fixed object for 60 seconds.
- Your vision prescription must be stable for 1 year. A change of 1 diopter or more in 12 months is significant.
- No history of herpes infections in the eye.
- Scar free cornea.
- Not nursing or pregnant.
- No dry eye syndrome.
- Not affected by an autoimmune disorder. (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, HIV or AIDS)
- Pupils cannot dilate beyond 7mm in the dark.
No thin corneas, large pupils, deep set eyes or very nearsighted
In order to know if you meet the criteria you need to visit an Ophthalmologist (Not an Optometrist). Have a through exam let them know you are considering Lasik. They may want to watch your eyes for 1 year before they give the go ahead for the surgery.
Have you had cataract surgery? That does not mean you can’t have Lasik. If you do have Lasik, however you may eventually still need cataract surgery. The average age for cataract surgery is 75 years old.
Costs of Lasik can run anywhere from $499 to $2500 per eye. Prices have risen since 2002 but the equipment is improving which is improving surgery outcomes. Thoroughly investigate the pricing. Some practices give you the low costs but charge additional for everything such as pre and post operative exams, or they could be using old technology.
When investigating a surgeon look for experience, training and great equipment.
Lasik surgery can give you back your 20/20 eyesight, allowing you freedom from glasses or contacts and it is a permanent fix. It can help with both near and farsighted people. In all instances it may not be able to eliminate reading glasses.
There are risks involved with any surgery. Complications occur in about 5% of all surgeries. Statistics show that 1.7% end up with glare and sensitivity to light, 2.6% have visual fluctuations, 3.5% see halos around light sources, and 3% have worse vision than prior to surgery.
Don’t let your age hold you back! If you are interested start investigating, it is never too late to improve the quality of your life.