LASIK for Young Adults: Is It the Best Alternative?

Dr. Jonathan Woolfson
LASIK for Young Adults: Is It the Best Alternative?

Maybe you’ve recently graduated from high school, college, or have been out in the “real world” for several years. Perhaps you’re thinking that now is the time to correct your vision in order to move forward with better vision as part of your bright future.

When you think of vision correction, it’s typical that the first option that comes to mind is LASIK. While there are many young adults between the ages of 18-30 who have had successful LASIK surgery, it’s important to note that in some cases other procedures make more sense for young eyes.

The advantages of LASIK and other vision correction procedures

Vision correction surgery can be a life changing experience. LASIK and other similar procedures can give you the ability to live your life without daily dependence on glasses or contact lenses— a huge relief for many patients who’ve worn some form of corrective lenses since they were kids.

LASIK alternatives for young adults

Many young adults may actually benefit more from a surgery known as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), an alternative to LASIK.

While each patient should be evaluated on an individual basis, there are sometimes reasons many young people may be advised to have PRK rather than LASIK. Younger corneas typically have more elasticity, which makes them more vulnerable to developing a complication called ectasia. When patients under 30 are determined to have either thin or irregular shaped corneas, LASIK is not typically offered. In these cases, PRK may be the safer surgical option.

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What is the difference between LASIK and PRK?

A lot of patients simply want better vision, and the exact process to get that result (LASIK or PRK) isn’t their primary focus.  However, for patients who want to know the differences between LASIK and PRK, here they are:

During LASIK, the surgeon gently makes an incision into the cornea to create a flap of corneal tissue. He then uses a laser to remove a very small amount of cornea under the LASIK flap.

In PRK, no flap is created. Instead, the corneal epithelium (outer layer of cells of the cornea) is removed to expose the cornea just below the outer surface.

The laser is then used to reshape the cornea without penetrating as deeply as with LASIK. Because PRK does not go as deep into the cornea, the long term risk of ectasia is lessened.

Which option is best for me?

Without seeing you for an evaluation, it’s impossible to say with certainty whether LASIK or PRK is a better vision correction option for you. However, it is a very important decision, and at Woolfson Eye Institute we utilize a sophisticated system to determine which, if any, procedure would provide the best mix of risk and benefit. We encourage any young adults who are considering vision correction surgery to contact us and schedule a free consultation.

It’s very important to consider all of your options and select the procedure that is best suited to your eyes. Our doctors take pride in matching each patient to the best procedure, so give us a call or contact us today!

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