LASIK After 50 – What Are the Options?
Can I Have LASIK Surgery if I’m Over 50?
Yes, but patients over 50 should only see a LASIK surgeon that is also experienced at and actively performs cataract surgery.
Why? A little anatomy lesson will help to explain. The eye has two lenses. The cornea and the lens. Actually the cornea is a more powerful lens than the lens. The cornea is a dome like transparent structure that sits in front of the pupil. The lens is shaped like an M&M and sits right behind the pupil. Light rays entering the eye are bent twice. First they are bent by the cornea, pass through the pupil and then are bent by the lens a second time to ideally come to a sharp focal point on the retina in the back of the eye.
The lens should be transparent just like the cornea. However once one enters their 50`s the lens begins to become cloudy. At first this is not noticeable by the patient. Gradually the cloudiness increases and eventually it becomes visually significant. Usually the first complaint is glare at night while driving. When this occurs it is usually time to do cataract surgery. The average age of someone ready for cataract surgery is 70 although some will require it in their 50`s and some not until their 80`s.
With LASIK the surgeon changes the shape and thereby the focusing power of the cornea to eliminate refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
With cataract surgery the first goal is to get the patient to see clearly whether they wear glasses or not. The second goal is that while we`re at it we can eliminate their refractive errors.