Are you over 50 and considering laser eye surgery? Have people told you that you are too old for LASIK surgery and that you’ve missed the boat? An upper age limit to laser surgery is a very common misconception! There is no upper age limit to which you can get LASIK surgery! We have patients over 50 who have come in for laser surgery and now enjoy their crystal clear vision. It all comes down to choosing the best procedure for your individual lifestyle needs.
So, where does the myth come from? Although there is no upper age barrier to laser eye surgery, there are some grounds for the upper age limit myth. This is due to a natural age-based phenomenon called presbyopia.
Presbyopia is a completely normal change to your eye that eventually occurs in all individuals as you reach old age (>45). It involves the hardening/stiffening of the crystalline lens inside your eye. This hardening of the lens makes it more difficult for your lens to change shape and, as a result, see up close. You may have noticed this happening already if you need to hold your reading material further away to see clearly. You may also have already been prescribed reading glasses by your optometrist to use for close-up tasks. These are all signs of presbyopia.
This is why laser eye surgery is sometimes not recommended for presbyopic individuals. Laser eye surgery works by making changes to the front surface (cornea) of your eye to correct your short-sightedness (myopia) and long-sightedness (hyperopia). However, in presbyopia, these changes occur at the level of your lens. This means any laser correction done to get rid of your distance glasses will usually not help when you begin to need reading glasses for presbyopia.
Fortunately, there are options for presbyopic individuals in our modern age to keep your glasses-free for a lifetime! Such options include:
Refractive lens exchange (RLE)
Refractive lens exchange is a procedure that replaces your natural lens inside your eye with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). It is a similar procedure to cataract extraction, except, in this case, the lens that is being replaced is cloudy. RLE is great for those who are presbyopic because it can correct short-sightedness, long-sightedness and presbyopia. There are various IOLs available to choose from, which gives you varying visual outcomes.
Learn more about the different types of IOLs and their effects at our blog post here.
Laser blended vision
Laser surgery can also correct presbyopia, done via a blended vision configuration. Blended vision is where one eye is corrected for clear vision at one distance (near), and the other eye is corrected at another distance (far). After a period of adaptation, your brain will automatically differentiate between near and far images and combine these two images to allow you to see at virtually all distances.
A thorough examination of your lenses and discussing your lifestyle needs with a specialised refractive surgeon is the best way to determine which procedure is right for you. No hard or fast rule determines whether one is suitable for laser surgery. It all comes down to understanding your lifestyle needs and desired visual outcomes. Whether it be laser surgery or a lens-based option, a comprehensive assessment with your ophthalmologist is the first step in gathering your options to becoming glasses-free.
We understand that knowing which procedure is right for you may be confusing. If you would like to learn more about laser eye surgery and gather your tailored treatment options to remain glasses or contact lens free, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free laser vision assessment or book in now using our online booking platform.