Now that school’s started up, kids might be complaining about not being able to read the board in class or that their glasses get in the way while they play at recess. As a parent, you want your child to have the best experience possible at school, so you want to make sure your children’s vision is as clear as possible.
But can children have LASIK eye surgery? It’s a good question, and the short answer is that children do not qualify for LASIK eye surgery. For a person to be eligible for LASIK, they must be 18 years old or older.
There are important reasons for this age restriction, and we’ll get into that in a moment. But keep in mind that there are still good options available to help children see clearly and perform well in school.
Why Children Under 18 Don’t Qualify for LASIK Eye Surgery
The biggest reason children under 18 years old don’t qualify for LASIK eye surgery is that their eyes are still developing. As they get older, their eyes will continue to change and grow. So if they were to receive laser eye surgery, the results could change or cause problems to the child’s vision as they get older.
Protecting the development of children’s eyes is important for their eye health later in life. In fact, because their development is so important, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any laser eye surgery on children in the United States.
Even if it were federally approved for children to receive laser eye surgery, there’s also the fact that to qualify for LASIK you need to have had a stable vision prescription. Your prescription can’t have changed in the last year. It’s likely that your child’s prescription won’t stay stable while their eyes are still developing, so that alone would disqualify many children.
It can be frustrating for children to not have clear vision, but it’s also important to protect their eye health in the long run. This means that children need to use glasses to help them see clearly until they are 18 years old and can potentially qualify for LASIK.
If My Child is 18, Will They Qualify for LASIK Eye Surgery?
If your child is 18 years old, there is a good chance they could qualify for LASIK eye surgery. As mentioned before, your child will need to have a stable prescription for at least a year before they can qualify. However, there are other things to take into account as well.
Before performing the surgery, Dr. Davis will do an assessment on your child to determine if they are eligible for LASIK. He’ll take into account the stability of their prescription, the type of vision problems your child has, and whether they have any health risks that could be problematic during surgery.
For example, if your child is pregnant, has heart problems, or has certain systemic diseases, it’s possible that your child will not qualify for laser eye surgery. This is due to changes in the body’s hormones that could be affecting vision or medications that also cause similar hormonal changes. Some medications may also react with the anesthetic, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory drops used during the surgery.
The best thing to do if your 18 year old child wants LASIK is to schedule an appointment to assess their eligibility. If your child doesn’t qualify at that time, however, they can be reassessed a few years later to see if they have become eligible since then.
If you want to know more about eligibility for LASIK, see our complete article on the subject here.
How to Help Your Child Deal with Glasses in School
If your child is under 18 years old, however, LASIK eye surgery will not be an option for them. The best option for your child will likely be glasses. Children may not always like wearing glasses, but typically it is the safest option for their eye health.
Children can be assessed and fitted with glasses at Davis Vision Center by our certified optician. It will likely help your child be more open and happy about their glasses if you are positive about them receiving glasses. Encourage them to choose a pair that is comfortable and that they like the look of. They’ll be happier wearing them if they like the fit and style.
When you prepare your child to go to school with glasses, make sure that they know how to properly clean and care for their glasses so they can see clearly all day. If your child is also required to wear a mask at school, help them figure out how to wear the mask properly without their glasses fogging up.
You’ll also want to make sure your child knows how to stay safe with glasses. Sometimes when children are playing, glasses can be broken and may cause injuries. However, if you teach your child how to play safely with glasses, the likelihood of this should be low.
If you are concerned about your child breaking their glasses when they play, then ask them to take off their glasses when they go to recess. Of course, if your child has severe vision problems, that may not be possible. But if they don’t have a severe prescription, they may be able to play without their glasses and still use them in class.
The optician should discuss with your child how to care for their glasses, but it’s important that you discuss and practice these things with your child as well so they can have the best experience possible with their glasses.
Can Children Use Contact Lenses?
Some children may really struggle with glasses. Maybe the glasses get in the way while they play sports, maybe your child just doesn’t like wearing them. Whatever the reason, at some point you and your child might consider switching them from glasses to contact lenses.
It’s important that you discuss this decision with your eye doctor. According to the FDA, children can use contact lenses, but it isn’t always recommended. Contact lenses ought to be prescribed for the best and safest results, and your eye doctor will help you and your child determine if contacts really are the best option.
Contact lenses require a lot of responsibility and care, so one of the first things to consider is whether you feel your child could properly care for contact lenses. This means cleaning them properly, not using saliva to reinsert them in the eye, removing them when necessary, and keeping track of the lenses everywhere they go. Older children will probably be better candidates for contacts for this reason.
Children who don’t properly care for their contacts may develop irritation or injuries to their eyes which could permanently damage their vision. The likelihood of this is increased if they have allergies, particularly severe allergies, because of the itchiness that can develop as a result of the allergies.
A good option for children who want to use contact lenses may be daily disposable lenses. These are often a good option because they require less care than other contacts and can be simply thrown away instead of stored.
Talk with your child about what is expected if they do get contacts and pay attention to their habits. If they aren’t taking proper care of their eyes and contacts, they may need to wait until they are older to use them.
When it comes to your children’s vision, you want them to have the best care possible. That’s why Davis Vision is the place to go. Dr. Davis and his team are highly experienced and qualified to help your child, and their impressive care is raising the standard all over Utah. Come see why people are choosing Davis Vision Center for their family’s eye care by scheduling an appointment today!