It’s no surprise that most teens would like to have clear vision without the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Eyeglasses can make teenagers feel self-conscious about their appearance, and those who wear glasses may even be subject to name-calling and bullying by their peers. Contact lenses can relieve teenagers of these issues. However, they take time to apply in the morning, when most teens are running late. In addition, contact lenses require removal and a thorough cleaning at night, tasks that some teens may not take seriously. Because of the disadvantages of glasses and contact lenses, many Austin teens inquire about LASIK surgery, which can permanently correct the common vision problems that affect patients in this age group.
Can Teenage Patients Undergo LASIK?
Generally, no, teenage patients are not good candidates for LASIK surgery. The shape of the cornea may continue to change when patients are in their teen years. This can result in a higher or lower degree of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. If patients undergo LASIK, and their vision prescription changes in the months or years after the surgery, they may require re-treatment. Since teenage patients’ vision prescriptions are more likely to change, most surgeons prefer to wait to perform surgery until the patient is in his or her 20s.
Surgeons also recommend that older patients, including patients in their 20s and 30s, wait to undergo LASIK surgery until their vision prescription has been stable for at least two years. This makes it far less likely that the patient’s level of refractive error will improve or worsen after LASIK surgery is performed.
LASIK Enhancement Surgery
When patients undergo LASIK surgery in their teens or before their vision prescription has stabilized, they may require additional LASIK surgery to further correct vision. In these cases, patients will experience excellent results after LASIK surgery. After a few months or years pass, their vision may gradually worsen, and eventually the patient will require glasses or contact lenses to see clearly again. To once again eliminate their need for vision aids, patients will have to undergo a LASIK enhancement procedure.
The LASIK enhancement procedure involves additional reshaping of the corneal tissue. Patients will have to return to their LASIK surgeon’s office to undergo another round of testing and surgery. The surgeon will determine how much corneal tissue will need to be removed to produce clear vision. Then, numbing eye drops will be applied to the eye. An incision will be made in the outer layer of corneal tissue to create the hinged flap. Once the flap is open, the cornea will be shaped with an excimer laser so that light properly reflects off of the retina. Finally, the flap is closed. The treatment steps are repeated on the other eye. The patient can then return home to rest and recover from surgery.
Rather than endure a possible additional surgery, teenage patients should wait to undergo LASIK surgery until they are in their 20s and their vision prescription has stabilized. In the meantime, they should continue to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses to achieve clear vision.
To schedule a LASIK consultation, contact Broberg Eye Care.