How to Make Your LASIK Results Last

We have good news: your LASIK surgery provides lifelong results. However, it is possible that your eyes will change as you age, and unfortunately, LASIK doesn’t stop Father Time. 

At Cooper Eye Care, our team of dedicated experts work to help you enjoy the best vision you can, and we understand that it can be alarming to find that you can’t see as well as you once did. It can be particularly disturbing if you’ve had laser vision correction. You may even think that you’ve done something or failed to do something to protect your eyes. 

The LASIK basics

Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, far more commonly called LASIK, is the most popular type of refractive surgery in the country, in large part because it’s so effective. If you’re nearsighted, farsighted, or you have astigmatism, LASIK can correct your vision so that you no longer need glasses or contact lenses. 

LASIK is fast, taking only about 30 minutes, and it’s extremely precise; and the tissue that your doctor removes doesn’t grow back, so the problem corrected by LASIK is permanently corrected. 

Your eyes change with age

Although the issue that your doctor corrected with LASIK remains corrected — that tissue doesn’t grow back — your eyes change over time. Just as you notice changes when you look in the mirror as you get older, changes happen in your eyes that affect your vision. 

One change that happens to almost everyone is presbyopia, which, in Greek means “aging eye.” Usually around the time you turn 40 or within a few years, you begin to have more trouble focusing on things up close; reading may be difficult, or if you have a hobby like sewing, you may struggle with it. You may also have headaches or eye strain. 

Even if you’ve had LASIK, you’re probably going to experience presbyopia. If you had LASIK to correct farsightedness, you may feel as if your surgery has worn off. However, LASIK reshapes your cornea, whereas presbyopia affects the lens behind your cornea, so is a different problem. 

Enhancement

Some people need a follow up treatment after LASIK, called an enhancement. About 1-2% of people who have LASIK need an enhancement within a year. If your original procedure didn’t give you the results you wanted, you may fall into that small percentage of people. 

After the 12 months, about 1% of people per year need an enhancement, due to changes in their vision. So, for example 5% of people who had LASIK five years ago need an enhancement, and 10% of people who had the procedure 10 years ago do, and so on. 

Enhancements aren’t necessary because your original procedure is wearing off, but because your vision changes with time. If you wear glasses, your prescription likely changes every few years for the same reason. 

Cataracts

Cataract is another condition you’re more likely to have with age, and one that is not impacted by whether or not you had LASIK. If you had LASIK and later develop cataracts, you’ll need to have cataract surgery to preserve your vision. 

The best way to understand how your vision is changing over time is to have an annual checkup. That way, if it appears you need an enhancement procedure, or you’re beginning to develop presbyopia or cataracts, you’ll know. Your doctor always explains your options, as well, so you know how to best correct the problem. 

If you have questions about LASIK, or about your vision, schedule an appointment at either location of Cooper Eye Care. We’re happy to answer your questions and to make treatment suggestions suitable for your situation. 

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