Ask the Doctor: How long does LASIK last?

Lasik in Oak Hill
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Lasik in Oak Hill - How long does it last?

Orest Krajnyk, MD: It is a very common myth, people thinking that LASIK is not permanent and that it may only lasts a couple of years. The fact is, LASIK permanently corrects the vision prescription – your nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism – that you come in with to have the procedure. Utilizing a laser to reshape the cornea and eliminating the imperfections of the cornea that cause your nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. Those imperfections disappear, so the idea that a patient’s eyes occasionally “regress” following LASIK doesn’t really make sense. However, what does happen on occasion is a patient’s myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) actually progresses. Like most living things, your eyes can change over the course of your lifetime. It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect to buy a pair of glasses and have them last your entire lifetime. Your eyes can change, but they will never go back to being as bad as they were prior to LASIK.

What is an enhancement and why do some people need to have this?

Orest Krajnyk, MD: A LASIK enhancement is a touch-up LASIK procedure that sometimes needs to be performed if your original vision correction surgery is unsatisfactory, or if your vision changes significantly over time. LASIK surgery today has on average an enhancement rate of 1-2 percent in the first 12 months and then about 1 percent a year after that as patients’ eyes can change with time.  So, for example, 10 years after LASIK, approximately 10 percent of patients may require an enhancement procedure to maintain their excellent vision. Patients whose refraction (the eye refracts light entering it, so as to form an image on the retina) is not stable prior to LASIK have an increased risk of needing enhancements. This is why your LASIK surgeon will want to know if your glasses have changed over the last few years prior to your procedure. The good news is that laser vision correction can very often be repeated after a thorough evaluation to make certain the patient is still a good candidate. Some surgeons charge an enhancement fee, while other surgeons perform these corrections at no cost to the patient. When considering LASIK, this is a good question to ask.

Does LASIK impact a patient’s future vision correction treatment options?

Orest Krajnyk, MD: Short answer – no.  LASIK treats your existing vision correction needs, but doesn’t prevent the changes that naturally occur with age – such as presbyopia and cataract. However, LASIK doesn’t impact a patient’s ability to choose surgical treatment options for those conditions down the road. These include lens replacement surgery, corneal implants and monovision LASIK – in which one eye is corrected for distance and one eye for reading.

LASIK eye surgery is a permanent way to reshape the cornea to correct vision conditions including nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism and it’s a way to rid yourself from the hassle of glasses and contacts, which may interfere with your lifestyle. If you have more questions about how long LASIK lasts and you are interested in LASIK in Oak Hill or surrounding areas please contact the Precision Eye Institute to schedule a consultation with Dr. Krajnyk.

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