If you’ve grown up needing glasses or contacts, you’ll know the struggle. Your glasses are either steaming up, slipping due to sweat or “definitely in my bag, somewhere.” Or you’ve got dry, tired eyes because of contacts.
Laser eye surgery can fix this, giving you 20/20 (or even better) vision. But not everyone is eligible - many specialists say your prescription needs to stabilise. This doesn’t usually happen until your early twenties. But can you get laser eye surgery at that age? We’ll discuss.
When Can I Get Laser Eye Surgery?
Many specialists will recommend that you’re at least in your twenties before you get laser eye surgery. But it’s not really even about age. If you really wanted to, you could get the surgery if you’re in your teens. It’s just not recommended because your body will still be growing at that age.
In fact, growth doesn’t usually stop until we’re in our early twenties. Whether you’re eligible for laser eye surgery or not depends on whether your eyes (and prescriptions) have stopped changing.
Generally, growth stops when we hit our early-to mid-twenties but some people’s prescriptions might continue to change for a few more years. If you had laser eye surgery before your eyes have stopped growing, you’ll need to have additional treatments later on as your prescription will change again.
Not only will this be more expensive but it’ll also be extremely inconvenient.
When’s the Best Time to Get Laser Eye Surgery?
Like we were saying above, people in their twenties are often ideal candidates for laser eye surgery but you should wait until you’ve had a stable prescription for one to two years.
It is, however, better to have the surgery at a younger age as it means you have plenty of time to be glasses-free before presbyopia (which is long-sightedness that usually begins in middle age) and other natural ageing processes kick in and affect your vision.
So, if you’re in your early twenties and your prescription has remained the same for at least one to two years, you’re at the prime time to have the surgery. Consult your optician and a laser eye surgeon to examine whether your eye prescription has stabilised.
What Happens During Laser Eye Surgery?
You will receive local anesthesia in the form of eye drops. There are no injections or needles involved. Then, the surgeon will use an instrument called femtosecond laser to create a thin, precise flap in the cornea. The corneal tissue underneath will be reshaped using another laser that sends pulses out.
In the past, the flap creation used to be done with a blade device called a microkeratome. However, the femtosecond laser has been shown to be safer and produce better vision, so you should avoid any surgeon or centre still offering blade-cut LASIK.
Once the tissue has been reshaped so it can properly focus light onto the retina, the corneal flap will be put back in place and the surgery is complete.
We know this sounds a bit of an ordeal, but laser eye surgery is a very short procedure (a matter of minutes) and it’s not painful at all. Some patients report feeling firm pressure when the femtosecond laser is creating the flap, but apart from that, there’s no pain.
What to Expect After the Surgery
The corneal skin layer is one of the fastest healing areas of the body and has the remarkable ability to repair itself in a few hours. So, you should heal very quickly after laser eye surgery.
The exact length of your recovery time depends on the individual as factors like age, health condition and treatment type play a role. But most people can go back to their usual activities a day after LASIK laser eye surgery and their eyes have nearly recovered within the first week.
When Can I Drive?
It’s common for eyes to be dry and sensitive to light straight after surgery as the anaesthetic will be wearing off. So, you shouldn’t drive home immediately but you should be able to get behind the wheel after 24 hours.
When Can I Return to Work?
You should be fit to return to work within 24 to 48 hours too - just try to manage your screen time by taking regular breaks from the computer/laptop and using lubricating eye drops.
When Can I Fly?
You should be fit to fly a day after your surgery. Your eyes might still be a little sensitive and the air on a plane can often be dry, so make sure you have eye drops on hand.
Can I Wear Makeup?
You can start wearing eye makeup seven days after surgery. Avoid wearing any eye makeup until then because you don’t want any foreign substances to enter the eye and disrupt the healing process, or apply undue pressure on the cornea and flap.
How Much Does the Procedure Cost?
This varies from person to person as everyone’s eye prescriptions and specific conditions are different. For example, it’s generally accepted that the higher the prescription, the more the surgery will cost.
Other conditions, such as cataracts, may add to the cost too as they require their own procedures.
Many might say that laser eye surgery is expensive but it’s important to remember that while the cost is relative, it’s also worth it in the long run.
For instance, if you had corrective surgery in your twenties, you could be glasses and contacts-free for at least another two decades. This then means you don’t need to buy glasses or contacts, which would then make laser eye surgery cheaper overall. Plus, it removes an invaluable amount of hassle from your daily routine.
You should also be aware that some laser eye surgery clinics offer low, tempting prices but there are often many hidden costs. This then means you end up paying the same amount as the other clinics that offered prices that appeared “expensive” at first.
At Focus Clinic, our laser eye surgery costs start from £4,600 for both eyes. We offer treatments for myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, reading glasses and cataracts.
The choice of procedure depends on your specific condition. Your surgeon will be able to advise you further on this.
What are the Payment Options?
You can choose to pay the cost in full or as a monthly payment, as many clinics offer a range of affordable finance rates. At Focus Clinic, we offer an interest-free finance option which is available with a deposit.
Be Sure to Choose the Right Specialist and Clinic for Your Needs
Laser eye surgery is often very successful and many people have corrected vision for decades afterwards without needing a second treatment as a “touch up”. However, you should look for and choose a qualified and experienced LASIK surgeon for your vision correction.
At Focus Clinic, we’re the only clinic in the country with a 100 percent success rate. This is why we’re the UK’s most trusted laser eye surgery clinic, as supported by our excellent reviews.
Our two surgeons have over 45 years of experience in ophthalmology and have performed more than 35,000 eye surgeries between them.
We also offer a comprehensive aftercare package to ensure that your recovery goes smoothly. Most clinics only offer a one year guarantee but, at Focus Clinic, we have a unique 10-year guarantee.
This means if you require any follow-up treatment within this period, it’ll be on us. Very few of our patients need a second treatment after the initial 12 month period (less than one in 500, actually), but this guarantee is good to have - just in case.
If you’re interested in laser eye surgery with Focus Clinic, or just in the procedure generally, take a look at our information pack. Just press the button below.