LASIK eye surgery offers potential vision correction benefits, but how long do the results of LASIK last? It’s a common question from patients, and the precise answer depends, in part, on the individual.
LASIK treats common vision problems such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism, but does not stop normal, age-related changes in the eye that may occur later.
LASIK Surgery Duration
The surgery duration itself is brief – approximately 15 minutes per eye. Choosing the right LASIK surgeon, procedure, and laser technology may help in achieving the best results.
Exploring its history, LASIK eye surgery was approved in Canada in the early 1990s and in the United States shortly thereafter, so there is a long track record of data on LASIK results. The results of LASIK are typically long-lasting, but natural changes in the eye over time may lead to the need for additional vision correction treatments or an enhancement procedure.
Vision Correction after LASIK Eye Surgery
While LASIK treats existing vision problems, it does not prevent the natural changes that occur in the eye over time. There may be some cases where patients need additional treatments in the future, or corrective lenses after having LASIK surgery.
Presbyopia, the condition which causes the need for reading glasses for adults in their 40s, LASIK does not address the potential need for reading glasses for patients over 40 years old. Occasionally, the patient chooses a monovision procedure which allows for close-up vision in one eye and distance vision in the other.. So reading glasses may be required, even if the other vision problems addressed in the LASIK procedure are no longer causing problems.
Just as you may have had minor changes in your glasses prescription over time prior to LASIK, you may have slight changes in your vision over time after laser eye surgery. Because of these natural changes, a person may need additional surgery. This is often called an enhancement, or a touch-up procedure.
Some LASIK providers offer enhancements at no charge with a grace period, while others charge for enhancements. It is important to ask your provider for their policy on enhancements, to learn whether there will be any cost to you if an enhancement is needed. Using a highly skilled LASIK surgeon, the latest laser technology, and going to a provider who screens candidates carefully may help reduce the potential need for enhancements.
Eye Health and Annual Eye Exams After LASIK
While LASIK may reduce your reliance on glasses or contact lenses, it’s still important to keep up with annual eye exams with your regular eye doctor after LASIK eye surgery. During your annual eye exam, your doctor will perform a variety of tests to measure your overall eye health, and discuss any treatment options for your current vision health needs. An annual exam also helps your eye doctor keep up with the natural changes that may occur in your eyes over time.