Anyone taking into consideration LASIK vision correction unquestionably wonders how long its effects last. LASIK is an investment in your health, and as with any investment, you should be aware of what you should expect. One of the most widespread myths regarding LASIK eye surgery is that the result wears off. This is not true. In fact, the effects of LASIK are permanent and should last for the foreseeable future. During a LASIK surgery, an excimer laser changes the shape of the cornea, which is the clear outer structure of the eye, thus treating nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The changes that the laser makes are permanent and do not change over time. Like with most things in life, there are no 100% warranties. Everybody’s eyes respond somewhat differently to Lasik and you can therefore never foretell exactly how long the visual correction will last. A small percentage of patients heals differently than other patients and might require an enhancement of their original treatment. In general surgeons are able to tell within the first 12 months after LASIK whether the patient will need an enhancement surgery, and there should not be any healing-related changes beyond that time.
As aging occurs, majority of people experience natural vision changes in the eye. These changes are not related to LASIK surgery nor are they caused by LASIK surgery and happen to everyone. Therefore, annual checkups are still important. Keep your yearly exam schedule, so you and your eye doctor can recognize and control conditions such as glaucoma in its early stages, and you can maintain the best vision possible. Many patients stop going to the eye doctor because their vision is good, but it’s wise to have the doctor monitor your eyes as you age. As people grow older, they may develop cataracts, which can cause blurriness. It is the same for other age-related vision issues, such as retinopathy and macular degeneration. Take your medical and family history into account when considering a LASIK surgery to better understand the life-long vision outcome. While the corneal tissue reshaping from LASIK will not wear off, it doesn’t prevent health and age-related vision changes. Nevertheless, these changes would happen regardless of whether or not you had LASIK, and most patients find that it’s worth investing in dramatically improved vision along with getting rid of the hassles of glasses or contact lenses that can last as long as their eye health does.
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.