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"Can children have Lasik surgery?"

ZocdocAnswersCan children have Lasik surgery?


Can children get lasik surgery? My son, who just turned 11, has very bad vision, and I'd like to correct it in a long-lasting way if possible. Plus, that would allow him to ditch the glasses which he's never liked and never taken good care of. Is the surgery safe for kids?


Bad vision is unfortunately a very common condition, in adults and children alike. I would recommend discussing this situation with your child's pediatrician and potentially a pediatric ophthalmologist (eye doctor) as there are other causes poor vision that can be treated outside of the standard glasses therapy. To answer your question--No, your child cannot currently have LASIK. Lasik is currently only FDA (Food and Drug Administration--the government agency that regulates medical procedures and medicine) approved for only people over the age of 18. The other criteria is that one's vision prescription has to be stable for greater than one year. The reason for both these criteria is that the surgery LASIK stands for laser assisted in situ keratomileusis. What this means, is that the cornea--the layer of eye that covers the lens is reshaped with a laser. Your eye works by having two parts which refracted light, that is focus it into your eye (retina). These two parts are the cornea and the lens. If the lens is mis-shapen--either to weak to to strong--you get eye problems. While the lens can be exchanged, the LASIK procedure skips that by using a laser to change the curve of the cornea--as to compensate for the problematic lens. If your child has a lens that is too weak or strong--they can change the cornea--but if the lens continues to changes as he grows--then you will need to keep changing the cornea (which cannot be done). That's why you must wait till his eyes are stable. Unfortunately LASIK is not an option for growing children. Discuss your situation with your pediatric doctor or ophthalmologist as other non-glasses alternatives may be available.

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