Vision problems can be detected before a child can even walk or talk. For many people, by their teen years, they've been wearing glasses for a decade or more. Is LASIK vision correction surgery an option before you're old enough to vote, or should you stick with glasses and contact lenses for a few more years? Learn more about seeking LASIK surgery during your teen years.
How Does LASIK Work?
LASIK vision correction surgery requires an ophthalmologist to create a small flap in the lens of your eye. Your ophthalmologist carefully lifts this flap and then uses a laser to reshape your cornea. After recovering and resting your eyes for a few days, you should find that you're enjoying the same vision you once could only achieve by wearing contact lenses.
There are some complications associated with LASIK, like dry eyes and irritation. However, the risk of these side effects can be lessened with proper aftercare, and the vast majority of LASIK patients report being very satisfied with the outcome of the procedure.
When Might LASIK Be Inappropriate for a Teen?
During your teen years, your body is still growing—and, in many cases, your contact prescription is continuing to change as your eyes grow and evolve. Having LASIK vision correction while your eyes are still growing could require you to later have revision surgery in your early twenties once your eyes have finally reached their "stopping point" and your prescription remains stable. Depending on whether you suffered any complications during the first procedure, the second procedure may require a longer recovery time and could increase the risk of developing scar tissue
However, this doesn't mean that LASIK is inappropriate for all teens. If you've had the same vision prescription for more than a few years, the likelihood that your eyes will continue to get worse is far lower. You may be just as good a candidate for LASIK as someone in their twenties or thirties. (This is especially true when considering the risk of infection that contact lenses can pose; in many cases, the slight risk of LASIK revision surgery may outweigh the larger risk of contracting a corneal infection from improperly sterilized contacts.)
If you're a teen (or the parent of a teen) who wants to find out whether LASIK is right for you, an ophthalmologist can look at your vision history, perform a comprehensive examination, and provide you with the facts you need to make this decision.