What is the Minimum Age for Laser Eye Surgery? | What are Lasik Age Requirements?

21 years old or older.  Earliest age that FDA has approved for Lasik treatment to begin.  “Other factors for potential LASIK patients to consider are age, health problems and current eyesight limitations.  For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved LASIK for individuals 18 and older. Some physicians' practices will not perform LASIK on anyone under 21.  "The reason is that between the age of 18 and 21, you can have significant changes" in your eyesight, [Jon Ann Johnston, LASIK coordinator for Kentucky Eye Care PSC]. said. "It's extremely important to wait until your vision is fairly stable." Lasik age.  Youngest age for laser eye surgery. Recommended age for Lasik. (Linda Romine, Correspondent, “Key factors help determine if LASIK surgery is your best option,” Business First of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, Friday, December 8, 2006) 

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"On a routine basis, we should strongly [advise]
against [administering Lasik to children merely
because they do not like to wear glasses].  Nobody
knows what's going to happen to the child's
eye. The data are not in for younger people,
so the safety has not been documented.
This is not something to be promoted."
                                                —
Dr. Walter Stark
                       
Wilmer Eye Institute, Baltimore, MD

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18 years old.  Youngest age approved by FDA for individuals to undergo Lasik eye surgery.  “Teens, [Joliet, Illinois optometrist Dr. James K. Cutler] said, find these [Orthokeratology or Ortho-K] lenses especially appealing, partly because they fit their busy lifestyle and appearance concerns and partly because Lasik surgery is not FDA approved for individuals younger than 18 because they're eyes are still changing.” Ortho-K Lasik surgery age. Youngest approved age for laser eye surgery. (Denise M. Baran-Unland, For the Herald News, “Lenses reshape cornea to improve vision,” The Herald News, Joliet, Illinois, May 6, 2009, p. C1)

18 years old.  Age when eyes no longer continually grow and change.  “The eyes continue to grow and change shape until adulthood (age 18). A child who receives LASIK at an early age may need more surgery later on as the eyes continue to alter shape.  Many doctors caution against treating young patients with LASIK except for a serious medical need. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has not yet decided to support LASIK for kids or not. LASIK is not on the way to become a common thing for children who have problems with contacts and glasses. It is too risky to administer LASIK to children merely because they do not like to wear glasses."

"Dr. Walter Stark, director of cornea and cataract services at the Wilmer Eye Institute and a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, advised, ‘On a routine basis, we should strongly [advise] against this. Nobody knows what's going to happen to the child's eye. The data are not in for younger people, so the safety has not been documented. This is not something to be promoted.’” Lasik minimum age for laser eye surgery. (Melissa Huang, Johns Hopkins University, “Doctors debate child LASIK surgery,” University Wire, Johns Hopkins News-Letter, Baltimore, Maryland, March 4, 2002) 

17.  Age of California teen who had Lasik because she could no longer tolerate contact lenses and refused to wear thick glasses.  “Two years ago, [Dr. Jonathan Davidorf, a West Hills, California ophthalmologist] performed Lasik on 17-year-old Nicole Sferra after the San Fernando Valley teen, who had previously worn contact lenses, found that she could no longer tolerate them. ‘I refused to wear my glasses," says Sferra, now 19. They were thick, and I was too embarrassed. I was walking around blind.’  With the family at ‘wit's end,’ according to Nicole's mother, Nancy, they looked into the possibility of Lasik surgery and contacted Davidorf. The doctor warned the Sferras that Nicole's vision would continue to change and that she would probably need glasses or require another Lasik surgery later.  ‘I know I may have to have my eyes redone," says Nicole Sferra. "But I'd do it again in a second. The outcome was amazing.’” (Shari Roan, “Lasik Eye Surgery: Is It Kid-Safe?,” Los Angeles Times, Oct 30, 2000, p. S1)

16 years old.  Age of high school student receiving Lasik reported in 2002.  “A 16-year-old high school football team captain, who could not tolerate contacts and could not wear glasses with his helmet, underwent LASIK and sees fine now.” Lasik eye surgery age.  (Melissa Huang, Johns Hopkins University, “Doctors debate child LASIK surgery,” University Wire, Johns Hopkins News-Letter, Baltimore, Maryland, March 4, 2002)

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"I'm sure we're going to be doing [Lasik on kids],
just like we now give kids braces to fix their teeth."
                                     — Jonathan Davidorf, MD
                        Davidorf Eye Group
, West Hills, CA

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16 years old.  Age of girl receiving Lasik to treat extreme farsightedness condition.  “Now that more than a million adults have undergone laser surgery to improve their eyesight, doctors are starting to look at whether it could be appropriate for some children.  Lasik eye surgery is currently recommended only for adults because young eyes are still developing. But several studies are evaluating Lasik for a childhood vision problem commonly known as "lazy eye," which if not effectively treated can lead to a lifetime of poor eyesight.  At the same time, ophthalmologists who do Lasik surgery say they are getting more requests for it from teens who want to shed glasses or contact lenses or can't tolerate wearing them."

"While all but a handful have been turned away until they're older, some doctors foresee the day when teens might get Lasik surgery - or more likely some outgrowth of the procedure - to improve their vision.  ‘I'm sure we're going to be doing that, just like we now give kids braces to fix their teeth,’ said Jonathan Davidorf, a Los Angeles-area ophthalmologist who recently reported on the results of doing Lasik surgery on a 16-year-old girl who was extremely farsighted.”  Lasik age limit debate. (Susan FitzGerald, Inquirer Staff Writer, “Lasik For Children? - Young eyes have been off-limits to Lasik. Some predict the popular surgery will be as common for children as braces. Others, mindful of the risks, say that time is not now - if ever,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 12, 2001, p. C01)

8 years old.  Age when Lasik was performed on a boy because he had severe ADD and was repeated losing his contact lenses. “An 8-year-old boy had normal vision in one eye but needed to wear a contact in the other.  [Dr. Robert Maloney, director of the Maloney Vision Institute in Los Angeles] explained, ‘Unfortunately, he has severe attention deficit disorder [ADD], and the contact kept falling out.  His parents were losing thousands of dollars a year on contact lenses. [LASIK] worked spectacularly. He did better in school. He was able to participate in sports.’”  When is earliest age for laser eye surgery? (Melissa Huang, Johns Hopkins University, “Doctors debate child LASIK surgery,” University Wire, Johns Hopkins News-Letter, Baltimore, Maryland, March 4, 2002)

2 years old.  Youngest age reported by Dr. James K. Cutler that he has fitted Ortho-K contact lenses on a child.  “But age is no barrier to Ortho-K.[Joliet, Illinois optometrist Dr. James K. Cutler] has fitted these [Orthokeratology] contacts on patients as young as 2 years old…”  See "Ortho-K, Safe Alternative to Lasik."  (Denise M. Baran-Unland, For the Herald News, “Lenses reshape cornea to improve vision,” The Herald News, Joliet, Illinois, May 6, 2009, p. C1)  Discover more about non-surgical Ortho-k solutions for nearsightedness.

 
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