Many people mistakenly believe that LASIK lasts for only a few years. But what is the truth? Actually, it is not a simple answer, and will take a little explaining. Read on to find out what we mean.
So how long does LASIK surgery actually last?
Although many people think LASIK is not persistent, or lasting, the reality is quite different. LASIK permanently corrects the eye for the prescription, whether nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, that was experienced at the time of the procedure. The laser reshapes the cornea through a process of ablation, providing a corrected curvature which in turns directs light to the retina without refractive error. This gives a proper image for the retina to read.
There is a myth that the eye may regress after LASIK, but that is not the case. The cornea has been reshaped, and is correct. What may occur at times is the continued decline of vision through a natural process. Myopia, or presbyopia, or some other condition are not cured through LASIK, but only corrected. There continued effects will further impair vision over time.
The eyes, as part of a living thing, will change and experience the general wear and decline of age. LASIK cannot mitigate the problems of age, nor is it reasonable to think of it as a final solution. However, it is not likely for vision to ever degrade more than the level of vision before the LASIK procedure.
Presbyopia is likely the main reason people think LASIK is not long lasting. A natural condition affecting most people as they age, it is caused by a loss of function in the eye which prevents focusing on near objects. Those 40 years or older are likely to experience presbyopia. Even individuals with excellent vision may experience presbyopia and require glasses.
What is an enhancement?
LASIK enhancements follow after the original procedure, and are done if the desired results have not been reached, or if certain complications have happened such as a sudden change in vision. LASIK enhancements are sought by patients on 1-2 percent of the time in the first 12 months, and only 1 percent of the time for each year following that. In 10 years, only 10 percent of patients will seek an enhancement.
Those who did not have a stable prescription before LASIK are more at risk of needing enhancement. However, your doctor should discuss this with you well before the procedure, ensuring you are well informed of the potential complications.
Thankfully, most individuals can have numerous enhancements done over their life. Though this is the case, the health of the eyes and thickness of the corneal tissue should be determined first. Many surgeons include enhancements as part of the original cost for the procedure. It is recommended to know if your surgeon provides this service.
Does LASIK impact a patient’s future vision correction treatment options?
No. It may be that LASIK does not solve every issue, and cannot correct for continued decline. But it does not interfere with other corrective surgeries. In the case of presbyopia, it is still entirely possible to seek lens replacement surgery, or even corneal implants. It may even be that a patient seeks monovision LASIK surgery, which would be no issue.
LASIK remains an excellent choice in correcting the major vision impairments most people suffer. If anyone wants a lifestyle free of glasses or contacts, they should consider LASIK as an option. A free consultation with a doctor of your choice is an excellent way to start.