If you are the parent or caregiver of a child who wears glasses, you may wonder if it is possible for children to have LASIK surgery. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the appropriateness of LASIK for vision-impaired children,
Why LASIK is Generally Reserved for Adults
Most of the time, your optometrist will not approve the LASIK procedure for a patient who is under 18 years of age. There are a few reasons for this decision.
LASIK works best on patients for patients with relatively stable vision. Current guidelines state that the ideal LASIK patient should not have had any changes to their glasses or contact prescription in the last year. It is extremely common for a child's vision to change well into young adulthood. If the LASIK procedure is performed before the vision has a chance to stabilize, additional procedures will be necessary for the future to continually correct the patient's vision.
Currently, LASIK surgery is only approved by the FDA for patients who are at least 18 years of age. Another concern that some eye doctors have is the ability of children to remain still during the procedure. Most kids are unable to maintain the level of stillness required for LASIK and would require sedation.
Sedation comes with its own risks, and for many patients, these risks are not worth the potential benefits of the procedure.
When LASIK is a Viable Treatment Option for Children
There are a few rare instances where your optometrist may recommend the LASIK procedure for your child. Kids who have extreme vision problems may benefit from the LASIK procedure. In cases where each eye has a dramatically different vision, LASIK is an effective treatment.
For example, if your child has one eye with near-perfect vision and one eye with extremely near-sighted or far-sighted vision, it is possible that the brain will stop using the bad eye. If this happens, the muscles in the bad eye can degrade, and your child can actually lose vision in the bad eye permanently.
The LASIK procedure can prevent the loss of use of the bad eye by correcting the vision before the brain stops using the eye. Though you may be able to manage the condition with the use of contacts, using contacts in young children has its own set of issues. Many parents and eye doctors agree that saving the child's eye is a benefit that outweighs any drawbacks to having the LASIK procedure at such a young age.
For more information, contact a company like Cornea Consultants of Nashville.