Why Being a Senior Is Not Necessarily a Contraindication for Laser Eye Surgery

Many seniors who struggle with their eyesight, often feel as though they may be ‘too old’ for laser eye surgery. However, what is interesting to know is that laser eye surgery does not have an upper age limit.  Seniors are free to have laser eye treatment at any age as long as they are suitable (there are certain changes which may occur in the eyes with age which may render a person unsuitable). There are also certain conditions of the eye which may be a contraindication for certain types of eye surgery.  Dry eyes and astigmatism are just two.

Other seniors (and many others of all ages), who know they can have surgery at any age, are often perplexed by the vast range of treatments available and wonder what treatment they will need to cure their eyesight problems.

Explanations of words used by surgeons and those wishing to have surgery:

  • Lasik and Lasek. These terms refer to different types of surgery. Just like Pitbulls and Poodles are breeds of dogs, Lasik and Lasek are types of laser eye surgery.

Lasik surgery is the most common type of laser procedure and you may have heard Lasik being used as a generic term for laser eye treatment. Lasik or Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis is a type of refractive eye surgery that is used to correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Lasik surgery removes and reshapes the eye’s corneal tissue in order to improve vision. Lasik tends to have a quicker recovery time too.
Lasek, or Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis, is usually used on patients who are unsuitable for Lasik surgery. Lasek surgery can be used on those who, for example, have thinner corneas than ‘normal’. Lasek surgery is a less invasive procedure as it does not penetrate the tissue bed as easily.

  • Intralase. Intralase is a type of Lasik surgery. Intralase is a bladeless procedure where a thin layer of the cornea is gently lifted to one side so the laser can be applied. With traditional Lasik, a surgical blade is used to create the flap in the cornea. Intralase is considered to be ‘less risky’ and more accurate but will cost in the region of an extra £250/$400 per eye.
  • Wavefront. Wavefront can be used in conjunction with both Lasik and Lasek. Wavefront simply describes how the laser is applied and tends to produce more effective results. This type of surgery is beneficial if you have a high prescription.

Factors to consider fo persons over the age of 55:

  • Needing glasses for both distance and reading.

As you age, you may find you need two pairs of glasses or bifocals. In most cases, laser surgery only corrects distance vision which would mean you would still need to put your glasses on for reading. However, there is a solution. Some people opt for Monovision surgery which involves lasering one eye for near vision and lasering one eye for distance vision.

  • General Health. Health may deteriorate as you age and you will need to discuss with a surgeon the options available to you if suffer from conditions such as cataracts, diabetes and glaucoma.

Please be aware that this is simply information and that you should always consult with a reputable surgeon prior to surgery. For more information and unbiased advice on laser eye surgery in the UK, please visit www.lasersurgeryeye.co.uk.


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