Those who wear eye glasses will know that the eyes are constantly changing and consequently our prescription lenses need to be changed from time to time. Unfortunately laser eye surgery, no matter how successful, cannot halt the natural changes and deterioration in our eyes as we age. Some of the biggest changes in our eyesight usually occur during our forties. Close up vision becomes blurred and this is called 'Presbyopia'. This common loss of the ability to focus on close objects is a common problem. If you have opted for LASIK surgery before that age for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, then it is likely that you will notice changes which require the need for reading glasses for reading and close work during your forties.
What to Expect after LASIK Surgery
Immediately after surgery you will be able to see, but not very clearly. You will need to make arrangements for someone to drive you home. If you wore glasses before LASIK surgery these will no longer be of any use to you so you will be relying on your natural eyesight after LASIK surgery. A checkup with the eye surgeon is usually scheduled for the next day and your eyesight will be tested then. Most patients have a 20/40 vision at that stage which is within the legal limits to drive in the US; however, it may be up to a week before you feel your eyesight is good enough for driving. If your driver's license requires you to wear eyeglasses then you should get a document from your eye surgeon verifying your visual acuity without glasses. This can be taken to your local Motor Vehicles Office and a new driver's license will be issued. After surgery, your eyesight may be blurry for a few days and some grittiness may be felt in the eye. It should not be rubbed and the eye drops will relive this sensation. After a few days your eyesight should be good, but it will continue to improve over the forthcoming weeks. Regular eye checks should be scheduled with your eye doctor or surgeon to monitor the progress. Your eyesight will reach its optimum in 3 to 6 months after LASIK surgery although it is usually sooner. At that point eyeglasses may be prescribed, if still required. Haloes and starbursts may be seen after LASIK, when looking at bright lights, particularly after dark. This can cause problems with night driving but it generally corrects itself in a matter of weeks or months.
How Long Will the Effects of LASIK Surgery Last?
Once the full healing process after LASIK surgery has been completed, your optimum visual acuity will be reached. After 3 to 6 months your eyesight will have reached its optimum benefit from the surgery. In many cases 20/20 vision is achieved, but some patients find they need reading glasses for close work. This may be diagnosed shortly after the LASIK surgery or a few years down the road. Occasionally, if your vision is not clear after LASIK, a further minor surgery may be recommended to obtain visual acuity. This is called an enhancement and is required by around 10% of LASIK patients. If your eyesight remains at 20/30 or worse then a low power pair of eyeglasses will usually be prescribed to be worn as needed. For those over the age of 40-45 who opt for LASIK surgery to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, the outlook is good for the improved eyesight achieved to remain for many years. No-one can tell what changes the eye will naturally undergo with age, but these changes will not be halted by LASIK surgery. Natural deterioration of eyesight, whether you have LASIK surgery or not will still take effect. Most patients
who undergo LASIK surgery see immediate improvements in their vision and no longer need to wear eyeglasses. This benefit can last for many years, making it well worth considering for the near term. Tests on those who had laser eye surgery more than 10 years before showed excellent long-term results with patients retaining on average 20/25 vision. Unfortunately, the term 'permanently' with regard to our eyesight rarely applies, with or without LASIK surgery.