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What Age Is the Best to Get LASIK?

April 5, 2023

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People spend a lot of time asking themselves, “what is the best age to have LASIK?” When it comes to refractive surgery and LASIK eye surgery age, you might have many unanswered questions.

As we've previously mentioned, the minimum age for Lasik surgery is 18 years old.

How old is too old for LASIK? You might be wondering, is there an age limit for LASIK?

We've identified some additional factors that can help you determine if laser eye surgery such as LASIK is right for you:

  • Your medical history and prescription drug use.
  • Any pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes.
  • Family history of eye disease, such as glaucoma, cataract or macular degeneration.
  • Diagnosed eye disorders, such as dry eyes.

Is There a LASIK Age Requirement?

lasik eye surgery age

One of the most important factors when determining if LASIK surgery is the right procedure for you, is the stability of your current prescription. The FDA has determined that the minimum age for LASIK surgery is 18. Pre-operatively, your surgeon is going to want to ensure that your prescription has been stable, or consistent. In your consultation, a refraction is performed, which measures the amount of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Doctors want to see that your glasses and/or contact lens prescription has been stable and unchanged for at least a year or two to ensure that the surgical results will serve you for a long time.

Thankfully, there is no absolute LASIK eye surgery age limit. As long as you’re in good general and ocular health and you are a candidate, there is no reason that an older individual can’t undergo refractive surgery. Of course, the ideal age for LASIK surgery is earlier in life so you can enjoy the results for a longer period of time.

What Is the Best Age for LASIK?

While there’s no recommended age for LASIK, there are pros and cons to having the surgery at various times of your life, but stability is always going to be the main focus.

Late Teens And Early Twenties

In your late teens and early twenties, your refraction can still be fluctuating. In this case, you wouldn’t want to proceed with surgery until your glasses prescription had been stable for at least a year. Exceptions are sometimes made for patients who are looking to join the military with the understanding that if their vision continues to fluctuate, an enhancement procedure may be necessary. As we've mentioned, the minimum age for LASIK is 18 years old.

Mid-Twenties And Thirties

how old do you have to be to get lasik

If you were trying to choose the optimal age to get LASIK, then your mid-twenties to thirties would probably be your best bet. Your prescription should be stable by now, and you have yet to develop presbyopia. Presbyopia happens when you begin to have difficulty focusing on near objects; it usually occurs in the mid to late forties.


How old is too old for LASIK? In your forties, presbyopia will start to develop. This can lead to difficulties seeing things up close. If your eyes are corrected for distance vision with refractive surgery, you will still require reading glasses to see near objects. This is important to keep in mind when considering LASIK in your forties. If you are having trouble seeing both near and far, sometimes a monovision treatment can be performed.

Fifties And Beyond

You might be wondering, is there an age limit for LASIK? In your fifties, presbyopia will have advanced, causing more substantial difficulties with near vision. To compensate for presbyopia, some people pursuing refractive surgery choose a procedure called monovision. This is where one eye is surgically corrected to see distance, while the other is corrected for  near vision. This can give you the ability to see near and far, but it’s not for everyone. Ask your doctor if this might be an option for you.

In your fifties and beyond, various ocular health conditions may start to develop, such as dry eye, cataracts, and more. Dry eyes can be aggravated by refractive surgery, so it’s important to seek treatment for this condition prior to undergoing LASIK surgery to optimize your results. Likewise, cataracts interfere with the quality of vision and are therefore usually is a contraindication for refractive surgery. During your consultation, you will have a comprehensive eye exam to identify any conditions that could interfere with your candidacy for surgery.

We've identified some additional factors that can help you determine if laser eye surgery such as LASIK is a good fit for you:

  • Your medical history and prescription drug use.
  • Any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Family history of eye disease such as glaucoma or macular degeneration.
  • Systemic eye disease such as dry eye syndrome.

Refractive Lens Exchange for Older Adults

when can you get lasik

If you're planning laser vision correction but you realize that you cannot safely undergo LASIK or you're not at the ideal age for LASIK, you can consider another option that's called Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE). During this procedure, your eye's natural lens will be replaced with a synthetic implant.  An implantable lens can significantly minimize, and even eliminate the need for corrective eyewear or contact lenses to see well at a distance and up close.

RLE is an alternative to the LASIK procedure for those with age-related farsightedness and those with mild or moderate nearsightedness. Many older patients get RLE as it is an effective alternative for aging eyes. Beyond the age of 40, the eye's natural lens grows rigid which makes it challenging to focus on near objects. An intraocular lens replacement can improve eye health and help patients focus on objects near and far.

So What Age Should You Get LASIK?

You might be wondering “what age should I get LASIK?” As you’ve seen, if there's an optimal age to get LASIK, it’s probably in your twenties and thirties, when you're in good health and are less likely to have any other eye concerns. This is the time when most people have a stable eye prescription allowing for a clear picture of  their particular refractive errors. Many young adults between the ages of 18 to 24  get LASIK, if they show stability in their prescription, and understand the possibility of needing an enhancement later on.

However, being in your forties, fifties, and beyond is still a fine age to get LASIK! Instead of focusing on what age, ask yourself, “has my vision been stable?” If yes, then now may be the right time to see if you’re a good candidate for surgery to help improve your eyesight and help you achieve clear vision without relying on contacts or glasses.

Beyond the age of 40, the popularity of LASIK decreases as these patients are more likely to develop eye conditions such as presbyopia. Even so, LASIK candidacy and age qualifications depend on the individual, and your eye surgeon will help you determine if you're a good candidate.

Call the Kraff Eye Institute at 312-444-1111 to schedule your consultation!

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Dr. Colman R. Kraff

Committed to advancing new technologies in the field of ophthalmology, Dr. Colman Kraff helped to pioneer laser vision correction. In February of 1991, as part of a five-site, U.S., FDA clinical trial team, Dr. Kraff successfully performed the first excimer laser procedures in the Chicagoland area using the VISX Excimer Laser.

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