I am too young to have vision correction surgery?

“You’re never too young to fall in love,” goes an old saying. When it comes to vision correction surgery, however, there is a standard I adhere to. In normal circumstances, I will perform vision correction surgery in patients as young as age seventeen, as long as the glasses/contact prescription is stable. In the FDA studies for all vision correction technologies, patients were required to be twenty-one years of age or older to eliminate any question of stability that might affect the outcomes, meaning that the surgeries are “labeled” for patients twenty-one and up. As discussed previously, surgery on patients under twenty-one is therefore considered “off-label.”

Being a young patient doesn’t rule you out for vision correction surgery!

However, I have routinely and successfully corrected many patients under twenty-one with LASIK surgery, PRK, and Vista Vision ICL. I am more likely to perform surgery on younger patients when the patient is highly motivated or there is a compelling reason to perform surgery; for instance, a high school football quarterback who is contact lens-intolerant and can’t wear glasses under his helmet. With any patient under twenty-five, I will advise them that they have a higher risk of needing additional treatment (as compared to a patient over this age) down the road if their prescription changes slightly as their eye develops. However, the rate of late retreatment in younger patients is still quite low. If LASIK technology were available when I was seventeen, I would have gladly undergone surgery to eliminate the need for glasses throughout my twenties despite the slightly higher risk of needing
additional treatment later in life.

Contact us if you have any additional questions about your vision correction surgery.

Paul J. Dougherty, M.D.
Dougherty Laser Vision