Laser Vision Correction in Children

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What is Laser Vision Correction?

Laser vision correction is a laser surgery to reduce or remove a person’s dependence on glasses or contact lenses for their best possible vision. LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) are the two most common types of laser vision correction.

These surgeries are usually recommended only for adult patients. The eyes are still growing throughout childhood and the glasses prescription changes as well.  Because of this, laser vision correction can be less successful in children because the eyes are still growing. However, there may be special circumstances where it may be helpful (see below). Of note, laser vision correction does not treat strabismus.

When might laser vision correction be considered for a child?

Laser vision correction may be considered for a child with a need for glasses who has a very, very hard time wearing them, even after the ophthalmologist and optician have carefully checked that the glasses are correctly made and sized for the child’s face. This problem can happen in children with behavioral challenges or certain differences in the shape of their face, nose, or ears. In addition, laser vision correction may be considered for children with an extremely large or strong glasses prescription. Laser vision correction in children has not been scientifically studied as much as it has in adults. 

How is the laser vision correction surgery different in a child?

Laser vision correction in a child needs to be done with general anesthesia. This form of anesthesia is where the patient is completely asleep. In contrast, nearly all laser vision correction surgeries for adults are performed with the patient awake. Children who have laser vision correction need to be monitored more closely than adults after the procedure to be sure the eyes are healing normally.   Speak with your child’s ophthalmologist if you have more questions about laser vision correction in children.

Posted: 11/2022

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