Laser Vision Correction: How Long Does LASIK Last?

Laser Vision Correction: How Long Does LASIK Last?

One of the major concerns we hear from potential LASIK candidates at Grene Laser is that their corrected vision only lasts a few years.

While each patient brings his or her own set of specific criteria, there’s mounting evidence that LASIK techniques of all kinds are not only providing lasting, improved vision, but their effects are far surpassing expectations.

How Does LASIK Correct My Vision?

LASIK, or laser assisted in situ keratomileusis, uses a specialized laser to reshape the cornea. This eliminates the imperfections that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and the blurry vision and other vision problems that come along with them. And since those imperfections are gone, the idea that your eyes can “regress” following LASIK doesn’t really make sense. So in truth, LASIK permanently corrects your vision.

The one thing LASIK can’t fix is presbyopia, or “aging of the eye.” Sometime around the age of 40, the lens of your eye—not the cornea that was reshaped with LASIK—loses its ability to focus on objects nearby. Even if you were born with good vision in both eyes, you will likely need reading glasses at some point years after LASIK—probably your mid-forties. This happens to everyone, even those who have their vision corrected with LASIK.   

If you have myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), it may progress over time, even if you’ve had LASIK at some point. Your eyes will never go back to being as bad as they were prior to LASIK, and in most cases, patients will find they no longer need to wear glasses or contacts for everyday activities, with many achieving 20/20 vision. However, your eyes will continue to change over the course of your lifetime.

What Kind of Vision Quality Can I Expect After LASIK Eye Surgery?

As LASIK technology has improved over the last 20 years, so have surgical techniques. Subsequently, healing times have improved as well. A randomized study of 60 patients performed at Stanford University Eye Laser Center asked patients to self-report their quality of vision following two different types of LASIK surgery. According to the report, this was “the first clinical study to compare femtosecond laser systems on the basis of self-reported quality of vision." Each procedure was performed by the same doctor to ensure consistency. Results showed “no significant differences in self-reported quality of vision” (as assessed by a questionnaire) after one, three, six, and twelve months. 

A similar - albeit less scientific - report of sustained vision demonstrates lasting results long after patients’ initial LASIK procedures. Christenbury Eye Center in Charlotte, North Carolina reported that two long-time patients continue to demonstrate 20/15 and 20/20 corrected vision 14 years after their initial procedures. Fully expecting to need reading glasses years after their surgery, these patients remain pleasantly surprised by how good their distance eyesight remains.

While techniques and technology may change, LASIK results remain consistent. In other words, research shows that patients who undergo laser vision correction continue to see lasting, long-term results.

You May Need a LASIK Enhancement

Some people need a LASIK enhancement—a follow-up procedure—if their vision changes significantly over time. The enhancement rate for modern LASIK is 1-2% in the first 12 months, and about 1% a year after that. For example, 10 years after LASIK, approximately 10 percent of patients may require an enhancement procedure to maintain excellent vision. Patients whose refraction (the light entering the eye) is not stable prior to LASIK have an increased risk of needing enhancements after LASIK, so let your surgeon know if your glasses have changed over the last few years prior to your LASIK procedure.

Here at Grene Laser, only four percent of the patients who have refractive surgery come back to have an enhancement. That means that 96 percent of our patients experience lasting results with their corrected vision. Some surgeons charge an enhancement fee, while other surgeons perform these corrections at no cost to the patient. Be sure to ask your surgeon during your consultation.

LASIK Eye Surgery’s Impact on Future Treatment Options

As mentioned earlier, LASIK treats your existing vision correction needs but doesn’t prevent the changes that naturally occur with age – such as presbyopia and cataracts.

In short, LASIK eye surgery permanently reshapes the cornea to correct vision conditions including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It’s the best way to rid yourself from the hassle of glasses and contact lenses which may interfere with your lifestyle. LASIK and PRK are safe procedures that not only improve your life and health but do so for decades.

Find Out if LASIK is Right for You at Grene Laser

Find Out if LASIK is Right for You at Grene Laser

Want to find out if you’d be a good candidate for LASIK? Check out our guide on what it takes to qualify for LASIK. Then book a consultation with one of the expert Wichita, Kansas eye doctors at Grene Laser. We’ll assess your vision needs and create a treatment plan to address your unique eye health.