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Is LASIK Permanent?

LASIK is a type of permanent refractive eye surgery that corrects blurry or distorted vision stemming from myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. The outpatient procedure is a common one, and corrections from it should last a person’s lifetime.

woman with LASIK

LASIK is one of the most successful procedures in modern medicine, with nearly 95 percent of people who opt to have it gain normal vision, or 20/20 vision

How Long Does LASIK Last?

Under normal circumstances, LASIK eye surgery is a permanent solution for eyesight problems, so it should last the rest of your life. 

But there are instances where you may need retreatment. Research shows that about 35 percent of people may require an additional LASIK surgery about 10 years after their initial treatment. Several factors, such as your age, might prompt you to have second LASIK procedure.

The second treatment to improve on the first is an enhancement LASIK. There are different LASIK retreatments surgeries available, with each option requiring a proper evaluation to ascertain if you are a fit candidate for the enhancement. 

LASIK Enhancement Considerations

Some factors eye doctors consider for an enhancement procedure include:

  • Timing: You can only get LASIK retreatment if you present with vision complications three months after the initial surgery.
  • Results from your eye examination: The doctors will do the enhancement if your evaluation shows that your corneal tissue is thick enough to handle a second surgery.
  • First LASIK surgery: The type of initial LASIK surgery will determine what retreatment procedure to opt for.

The procedure for LASIK enhancement surgery is much like the original one. During the retreatment, the doctor can either do a flap lift or surface ablation procedure.

Factors That Influence How Long LASIK Lasts

LASIK surgery can improve someone’s eyesight for the rest of their life. Nevertheless, certain factors can cause vision regression after the surgery. Key questions whose answers influence the duration of LASIK results:

  • How old you were when you had your original LASIK procedure?
  • What was your overall vision health, including underlying conditions, when you had that first surgery?
  • What was the stability of your eyeglass prescription when you had that first surgery? Was your vision stable at the time?

1. Age

Your age determines much about how long the LASIK procedure will last. The older you are, the greater the chances the procedure won’t last as long. 

One thing to note is LASIK is a corrective procedure rather than a preventive one. That means that it cannot treat conditions resulting from aging eyes. 

One example is the eye condition of presbyopia, which causes difficulty focusing on nearby objects. It usually sets in when one is in their early 50s. Getting LASIK at this age will mean its corrections will last a short while before presbyopia starts affecting your vision again

Consequently, you may require additional treatment plans like reading glasses to substitute your LASIK treatment. 

2. Underlying Eye Conditions

When the initial conditions causing vision problems progress, they might cause your vision to regress, affecting the LASIK treatment. For instance, underlying conditions such as cataracts shorten the corrective effects of LASIK surgery

Cataracts are a cloudy substance that forms on the lens, the clear part of the eye. When cataracts accumulate on the eye, it obstructs one’s vision, eventually causing vision problems which the LASIK treatment has corrected.

3. Stability of your eyeglass prescription

An eyeglass prescription is an order that the eye doctor writes to describe the best types of glasses or lenses for your vision problems. Having an unstable eyeglass prescription (one that keeps changing) affects the permanency of LASIK surgery. 

That’s because eyes keep changing form and shape, and the constant shift in condition might disqualify you for a LASIK procedure. 

FAQs

Does LASIK last a lifetime? 

Yes, LASIK typically lasts a lifetime since it’s a procedure that involves peeling off unneeded parts of your eyeball. However, some unforeseen factors such as aging and underlying eye conditions can affect its duration. 

How many times can you have LASIK?

You can have LASIK more than once, but the FDA recommends that you wait at least three months before getting the subsequent surgery. The eye doctor must also take new measurements to ensure you are ideal for the new procedure.

References

  1. What is LASIK? January 2021. US Food and Drug Administration.

  2. LASIK Surgery: What to expect. (June 2020). Harvard Medical School.

  3. Outcome of 10-year follow-up of LASIK for myopia and myopic astigmatism. (December 2014). ScienceDirect. 

  4. LASIK Enhancement: Clinical and Surgical Management. 2017. (February 2017). National Library of Medicine.

  5. Retreatment in LASIK: To Flap Lift or Perform Surface Ablation. (January 2020). National Library of Medicine.

  6. LASIK — Laser Eye Surgery. (October 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology. 

  7. Should you have LASIK if you have cataracts? (March 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  8. Cataracts. (August 2019). National Eye Institute.

Last Updated April 20, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.