Legal Age for Laser Eye Surgery: What You Need to Know

by Matthew Daniel

Legal Age for Laser Eye Surgery: What You Need to Know

Laser eye surgery, such as LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis), has become a popular method for correcting vision problems and reducing the reliance on glasses or contact lenses. However, like any medical procedure, there are certain regulations and considerations to be aware of. If you’re wondering about the legal age for laser eye surgery, this article provides essential information to guide you.

Minimum Age for Laser Eye Surgery

The legal age for laser eye surgery varies by country and can also depend on the specific type of laser eye surgery being performed. In many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, the minimum age for LASIK surgery is 18 years old. This age requirement is primarily based on the stability of the individual’s vision prescription.

Step 1: Check Your Vision Stability and Eligibility

Vision stability is essential for LASIK surgery, as it ensures that the results of the surgery will be accurate and long-lasting. Vision stability means that the prescription of the eyes has not changed significantly for at least one year before the surgery. To determine the stability of your vision, you need to have regular eye exams and provide records of your previous prescriptions to your LASIK surgeon.

Besides vision stability, there are other factors that may affect your eligibility and outcome of LASIK surgery. These include:

  1. The thickness and shape of your cornea Your cornea needs to be thick enough to allow the creation of a flap and the removal of some tissue during the surgery. Your cornea also needs to have a normal shape and curvature, without any irregularities or scars. Patients with thin or irregular corneas may not be good candidates for LASIK and may need to consider other options such as PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) or ICL (implantable collamer lens).
  2. The health and function of your eyes. Your eyes need to be free of any diseases or conditions that may impair the healing process or the quality of your vision after the surgery. These include dry eye syndrome, glaucoma, cataracts, keratoconus, herpes simplex, and eye infections or injuries.
  3. The general health and lifestyle of the patient You need to be in good overall health and not have any medical conditions that may affect the immune system or the blood clotting ability, such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, or bleeding disorders. You also need to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking certain medications or supplements that may interfere with the surgery or the recovery.

Before deciding to have LASIK surgery, you need to consult with a qualified and experienced LASIK surgeon, who will perform a comprehensive eye evaluation and discuss the benefits, risks, and expectations of the procedure. The LASIK surgeon will also determine the best type of laser and technique for your eyes, based on your vision problem, corneal shape, and personal preference. The LASIK surgeon will also explain the costs, the preparation, and the aftercare of the surgery and answer any questions that you may have.

Step 2: Prepare for the Surgery

Once you have decided to have LASIK surgery, you need to prepare for the surgery and follow the instructions of your LASIK surgeon carefully. Here are some of the things that you need to do before the surgery:

  1. Stop wearing contact lenses at least two weeks before the surgery. Contact lenses can alter the shape of your cornea and affect the accuracy of the surgery. You can wear glasses instead, but you may need to bring them to the surgery center, as you will not need them after the surgery.
  2. Stop using any eye makeup, creams, lotions, or perfumes at least one day before the surgery. These products can cause infections or irritations in your eyes and interfere with the surgery. You should also wash your face and eyelashes thoroughly before the surgery and remove any traces of makeup or dirt.
  3. Arrange for a companion to drive you to and from the surgery center. You will not be able to drive yourself after the surgery, as your vision will be blurry and your eyes will be sensitive to light. You will also need someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours after the surgery, to help you with your medications and eye drops, and to monitor your recovery.
  4. Eat a light meal and drink plenty of water before the surgery. You should not be hungry or thirsty during the surgery, as this can affect your comfort and blood pressure. However, you should also avoid eating or drinking too much, as this can cause nausea or vomiting. You should also avoid caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco, as these can affect your blood circulation and healing.

Step 3: Undergo the Surgery

The LASIK surgery itself is a quick and painless procedure that usually takes less than 15 minutes per eye. You will be awake and alert during the surgery, but you will be given some eye drops to numb your eyes and some oral medication to relax you. You will also be given a device to keep your eyelids open and prevent you from blinking. Here are the steps of the surgery:

  1. The LASIK surgeon will use a special device called a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser to create a thin flap on the surface of your cornea. The flap will be lifted and folded back, exposing the underlying corneal tissue.
  2. The LASIK surgeon will use another device called an excimer laser to reshape your cornea according to your prescription. The laser will remove a precise amount of tissue from your cornea, changing its curvature and improving its focus. You will be asked to look at a target light during this process to keep your eye steady and centered.
  3. The LASIK surgeon will reposition the flap over your cornea and smooth it out with a spatula. The flap will adhere to your cornea naturally, without the need for stitches or glue. The LASIK surgeon will then repeat the same steps for your other eye, if needed.

You will not feel any pain or discomfort during the surgery, but you may feel some pressure or sensation in your eyes. You may also hear some clicking or buzzing sounds from the laser devices and see some flashing lights or blurred images. You will be able to see immediately after the surgery, but your vision will be hazy and cloudy. You will be given some eye drops to prevent infections and inflammation and some sunglasses to protect your eyes from light and dust. You will then be taken to a recovery room, where you will rest for a while and have your eyes checked by the LASIK surgeon. You will then be ready to go home with your companion.

Step 4: Recover from the Surgery

The recovery from LASIK surgery is usually fast and easy, but it may vary depending on your individual case and the type of laser and technique used. You will notice an improvement in your vision within the first 24 hours after the surgery, but it may take several weeks or months for your vision to stabilize and reach its optimal level. You will also experience some side effects and complications after the surgery, such as dry eyes, glare, halos, starbursts, or night vision problems. These are usually temporary and mild and can be treated with eye drops, medications, or additional procedures. Here are some of the things that you need to do after the surgery:

  1. Follow the instructions of your LASIK surgeon regarding your medications and eye drops. You will need to use them regularly and as prescribed to prevent infections, inflammation, and dry eyes. You will also need to avoid rubbing or touching your eyes, as this can dislodge the flap or cause injuries.
  2. Attend your follow-up appointments with your LASIK surgeon. You will need to have your eyes examined and monitored by your LASIK surgeon at regular intervals, such as one day, one week, one month, three months, six months, and one year after the surgery. Your LASIK surgeon will check your vision, your eye health, and your healing progress, and make any adjustments or corrections if needed.
  3. Protect your eyes from sunlight, dust, and water. You will need to wear sunglasses whenever you go outside to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays and bright light. You will also need to avoid swimming, showering, or using any eye makeup or cosmetics for at least one week after the surgery to prevent any infections or irritations in your eyes.
  4. Resume your normal activities gradually and carefully. You will be able to return to your work, school, or daily routine within one or two days after the surgery, but you should avoid any strenuous or risky activities that may strain your eyes or expose them to injury, such as sports, driving, or reading. You should also limit your screen time and take frequent breaks to prevent eye fatigue and dryness.


Q1: Can individuals under 18 years old receive laser eye surgery?

A1: In most cases, individuals under 18 are not considered suitable candidates due to the potential for ongoing changes in their prescription.

Q2: Is there a maximum age for laser eye surgery?

A2: There is no strict maximum age for laser eye surgery; however, candidacy is determined on a case-by-case basis, considering factors such as overall eye health.

Q3: Can I have laser eye surgery if my prescription is still changing?

A3: It’s generally recommended to wait until your prescription has stabilized for at least one to two years before considering laser eye surgery.

Q4: Are there any risks associated with laser eye surgery?

A4: Like any surgical procedure, laser eye surgery carries some risks. Consulting with an eye care professional will help you understand potential risks and benefits.

Q5: What if I’m not a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery?

A5: If you’re not a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery, your eye care professional will discuss alternative vision correction options that may be better suited to your needs.


In conclusion, the legal age for laser eye surgery, particularly LASIK, is generally around 18 years old in many countries. However, age is just one of several factors that determine whether you’re a suitable candidate for the procedure. Consultation with a qualified eye care professional is essential to determine if you meet the necessary criteria and to receive personalized guidance regarding your vision correction options.

Matthew Daniel

Meet Matthew Daniel, the storyteller behind Adam Magazine. With a passion for narratives around "Legal Age," "Celebrity Age," and "Animal Age," Matthew invites you to explore captivating stories. Join him on a journey where each tale reflects the diverse and fascinating aspects of human experiences, celebrity journeys, and the wonders of the animal kingdom.