LASIK surgery permanently reshapes the cornea of the eye. One would assume this means that the results of the surgery are also permanent, but since the body is constantly changing, this might not be the case. The amount of time that your LASIK results will last depends entirely on your body. They might be permanent or they may only last a few years. Your doctor will be the best source for determining the expected results from your LASIK procedure.
How Does LASIK Work?
LASIK surgery is a type of refractive eye surgery. It reshapes the cornea to improve its ability to focus images. This can result in clearer vision. Lasers are used to burn off portions of corneal tissue, perfecting the shape of the cornea. Once tissue is removed it cannot be replaced.
Since the reshaping that occurs during LASIK surgery is permanent, long term vision correction may be possible. However, the procedure has only been approved for use by the FDA since 1998, making long term results relatively unknown.
Another factor that can influence the results of your LASIK procedure is that the body is constantly changing. Eyesight tends to degenerate with age and vision changes are possible even after LASIK correction. Many doctors recommend waiting to undergo surgery until eyesight has been stable for at least a year to help avoid this problem, but even stabilized vision can change with age and other factors.
While LASIK surgery may correct refractive errors in the eye, other problems may arise that can interfere with vision. These include glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and more. LASIK surgery does not prevent eye disease or keep problems from occurring.
Improving Your LASIK Results
While no one can accurately determine how long your LASIK results will last, there are a few ways to help improve the possibility of long term results. These include:
- Waiting Until You Are Old Enough- LASIK surgery is typically not performed on those under 18 years of age. Many doctors recommend waiting until at least the mid-twenties to ensure the eye is fully developed and that vision is stabilized before undergoing LASIK surgery.
- Waiting Until Vision Stabilizes- It is best to wait until your vision has been stable for at least a year before scheduling LASIK. If your prescription for glasses or contacts has changed recently, wait for your sight to stabilize to improve your results.
- Avoiding LASIK During Pregnancy- Pregnancy can cause the shape of the eyes to temporarily change. LASIK surgery is not recommended for those that are pregnant or nursing.
- Protecting the Eyes After Surgery- Most people recover from LASIK surgery fairly quickly, but you will want to take special caution to protect your eyes in the weeks and months following surgery. It is recommended that you avoid all sports for a few days after surgery, that you avoid contact sports for several weeks after surgery and that you avoid swimming and hot tubs for two months after surgery. Sustaining a blow to the face or eye after surgery can lead to problems so LASIK is not recommended for those that participate in sports like boxing or wrestling.
- Being Honest About Health and Medications- Certain health conditions or medications can make LASIK procedures more complex. Always be honest with your doctor about your health, any medications you may take and any concerns you may have.
Additional Surgeries May Be Needed
Sometimes additional surgery is needed after a LASIK procedure to improve the results or fine tune your vision. Some providers will even perform surgeries again if your eyesight deteriorates from natural causes after getting LASIK. Talk with your doctor about the options that are available to you. It is important to note that not all patients will be able to undergo multiple surgeries.
Expect Realistic Results
LASIK surgery may not lead to perfect vision for all patients. Many patients still need vision correction after surgery or may need to wear glasses or contacts in the future should their vision deteriorate. Talk with your doctor about what type of results you can expect. Having realistic expectations will help you to avoid disappointment after your procedure.
It is also important to understand the risks of LASIK. Some people experience permanent vision problems as a result of treatment including chronic dry eyes, vision loss, blurry vision and more.
- How Long Does LASIK Surgery Take?
- How Do I Schedule a LASIK Evaluation?
- Does LASIK Have Any Negative Side Effects?
- Can I have laser eye surgery? Is it safe?
- Am I a Candidate for LASIK Surgery?
- Does Insurance Cover the Cost of LASIK Surgery?
- Is there any pain during LASIK surgery?
- What type of anesthesia is used for LASIK surgery?
- What is the success rate of LASIK surgery?