Recently, Shelton (who is also a coach on TV’s “The Voice”), lambasted himself in a tweet for waiting until age 39 to get LASIK eye surgery. While we don’t know why Shelton waited so long or details about his eyesight, it’s likely he did miss out by waiting 20 years to wake up everyday being able to see clearly without glasses or contacts.
At the same time, is 39 a good age to get LASIK? It depends. According to Key-Whitman Eye Center President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, M.D. “Depending on your age and what your expectations are following eye surgery, LASIK isn’t the only vision correction procedure you should consider.”
Dr. Whitman explains why you might consider an alternate procedure to LASIK and what technology is available today.
“While there is no surgery that everybody can have, we tell patients that if you’re 18 to 40 years of age, and you need to wear glasses or contacts to correct your distance vision, you’re probably a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery. And that includes people with astigmatism. We’ve been treating astigmatism with the laser for years.
For those patients who just want correction of distance vision, LASIK is a slam-dunk. No question,” Dr. Whitman says.
For younger patients who think their eyes may still be changing, say at age 19 or 20, Dr. Whitman encourages those patients to go enjoy the benefits of LASIK now. As he explains, “Vision has mostly stabilized around age 18. Plus, one of the beauties of LASIK today is that we can do enhancements so easily.
As long as we can take measurements that show it’s safe to do surgery on the patient’s eyes, we can go back a few years later and do touch ups.”
Thanks to technological advancements and the latest screening techniques, LASIK surgery is safer and more effective than ever before. “Today, we have instruments that allow us to examine the patient’s eyes, particularly the cornea, to pick up things we couldn’t see in the past,” says Dr. Whitman.
Dr. Whitman discusses the recent FDA LASIK effectiveness studies and why you can expect excellent results following LASIK today.
While LASIK is an excellent option to fix distance vision for most people after age 18, when you’re over 40 years of age, you will have other considerations to take into account, particularly when it comes to reading vision. Shelton may have trouble seeing the frets on his guitar or reading a teleprompter in the next couple of years.
As Dr. Whitman explains, “LASIK will fix your distance vision just fine, but shortly after 40 you will need reading glasses. That’s why our practice offers patients a full range of options to correct their vision.
For cataract patients, they can choose the standard procedure that may require they still wear glasses and contacts, or they can opt for a high-technology lens replacement that gives them a wider range of vision.” These include:
For the patient who has already had cataract surgery but still needs to wear glasses to drive or watch TV, LASIK can be a very good option. “In fact we’ve operated on people into their 90s, because they didn’t want to rely on glasses when they got in the car or watched TV anymore,” Dr. Whitman says.
On the other hand, some people nearing cataract age may want to hold off on LASIK. As Dr. Whitman explains, “I would never recommend to someone who is in their 60s to have LASIK done if they had not had cataract surgery yet. Their cataracts are developing already, which means their vision will continue to change. If they opt for one of today’s high-technology lens implants during cataract surgery, LASIK may not be necessary.”
According to Dr. Whitman, “Key-Whitman is one of the few ophthalmic practices in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that really offers a full range of vision correction options, along with leading-edge technology. Many don’t offer intraocular contact lenses (ICLs) or Crystalens. Some practices only specialize in one type of procedure.”
That one procedure may not be the best procedure for your individual circumstances. Dr. Whitman encourages people seeking vision correction surgery to ask what options a practice offers before scheduling a consultation.
“If you want to get the best treatment for your eyes, it’s important to find an eye doctor in Dallas-Fort Worth who offers all of the options available, so the procedure selected is matched to your lifestyle. Do they do LASIK,
PRK, ICLs, accommodative lenses, multi-focal lenses, as well as eyeglasses and contact lenses? You do have options, you just need to ask,” Dr. Whitman says.