Is LASIK Possible for Children?

Children and Lasik

While some surgeons may be willing to perform LASIK surgery on children, the FDA has not approved any lasers for use on people under 18.

Arguments against LASIK in children include:

  • Most children have refractive instability. Their eyes have not yet stabilized and their prescription changes often. LASIK may give them 20/20 vision, but it may not be long before their vision changes again, and they need another surgery, glasses, or contacts.

  • Children have more years ahead of them than the average adult LASIK patient, and we do not yet know enough about the long-term effects of the procedure.

  • Children must be given general anesthesia to keep still, but the laser systems were not designed for use on unconscious patients who are completely lying down.

Despite these issues, many parents feel that LASIK could be of great help to their children.

Some of the arguments in favor of LASIK in children are:
  • LASIK could be particularly useful for children with poor vision which cannot be helped by glasses or contacts or who cannot (or will not) wear glasses or contacts.

  • LASIK could help children fit in socially, freeing them from the stigma of wearing glasses, and allowing them to participate in sports and other activities where good vision is crucial.

  • Many children hate wearing their glasses, and it can be difficult to get them to do so. Glasses and contacts are also easily broken or lost, and expensive to replace.

What is really needed is a national study on LASIK in children, so that doctors and parents can better evaluate the potential risks and benefits. Until more is known, LASIK is probably best used as a last resort for children, saved for cases of extremely poor vision, or where all other methods have been tried and failed.

Learn more about LASIK surgery and children on our forums!