If you’ve been considering refractive surgery – particularly LASIK eye surgery – you may have had a few questions about the LASIK procedure. In addition to explaining how LASIK eye surgery works, we’ll also investigate how long does LASIK last – is it forever or only for a limited time? 

 

All About the LASIK Procedure

LASIK stands for laser assisted in situ keratomileusis. It is one type of refractive operation, which is a group of procedures designed to surgically correct the prescription of the eye. Other popular forms of surgical vision correction include:

  • PRK (photorefractive keratectomy)
  • SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction)
  • RLE (refractive lens exchange)
  • ICL (implantable contact lens)

Each technique carries its own pros and cons and unique features. Prior to being booked for your operation, your eye specialist will perform a comprehensive examination. This is to ascertain your eligibility for refractive surgery and to find out which procedure is the most suitable for you and your visual needs.

 

 

The consultation will involve examining your ocular health, assessing your vision, taking biometric measurements of your eyes, and having a discussion about how you use your sight. For example, are you someone who does a lot of driving at night or does your vocation involve exposure to potential head or face injury. Your specialist will be guided by this discussion and the findings of the physical examination in determining which refractive technique is the best for you. 

LASIK eye surgery is one of the more well-known procedures. During the LASIK procedure, a flap is cut from the top layers of the cornea. The cornea is the clear dome of tissue at the very front of your eye. By moving aside this flap of superficial tissue, the surgeon can work on the deeper layers of the cornea. All laser eye surgery techniques are based on the principle of reshaping the cornea to change the way light focuses through the eye. During LASIK eye surgery, an excimer laser is applied to the deeper layers of the cornea in a process called photoablation. This refers to the use of a laser to vaporise precise areas of tissue. This process is guided by a computer. After photoablation is completed, the flap is repositioned. You will be sent home with a protective eye shield and post-operative instructions. 

 

How Long Does LASIK Last?

The LASIK procedure is intended to offer a permanent correction to your sight. However, the eye is a live organ that can change over time. After an initially successful LASIK eye surgery procedure, you may find at some point that your vision is not as sharp as it originally was. There are two general reasons for this. 

 

Your eyes are ageing

Laser eye surgery, including the LASIK procedure, is primarily designed to correct long-distance vision. When you’re in the first four decades of life, this is all that’s really needed to provide you with comfortable and functional sight for all activities. However, as you reach your mid-40s, your near-focusing ability begins to deteriorate. This is a normal age-related change known as presbyopia. 

While your long-distance sight may remain quite good without glasses after your LASIK eye surgery, you may eventually find that your near sight begins to become increasingly difficult as you age. Most people entering early presbyopia can either simply hold their reading material slightly further away, but eventually, you’ll find you need reading glasses. 

As you get older, your risk of ocular disease increases. The most common of these that can affect your sight is cataract. A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye. This can cause your sight to feel hazy, filmy, and generally blurry. Some cataracts may also have the effect of shifting your prescription. You may find either a long-sighted or short-sighted prescription developing simply because of a progressing cataract. 

Your ophthalmologist will take your age into consideration when recommending the most suitable technique of refractive surgery for you.  

 

You’re experiencing regression

Regression is a phenomenon that can occur after any laser vision correction procedure, including LASIK eye surgery. During regression, your prescription slowly begins to creep back after having a successful LASIK procedure. It’s the main unknown factor when it comes to answering how long does LASIK last, as researchers and ophthalmologists don’t fully understand why it happens. Regression may occur as soon as one to two years after your original LASIK eye surgery, while others may only begin to notice their sight deteriorating after a good decade. 

Although it’s impossible for your surgeon to tell you whether you will or won’t experience regression or when it might occur, research has uncovered some factors that can influence its likelihood. procedure lasik treatment melbourne

  • The severity of your prescription
  • Your natural corneal thickness
  • Your remaining corneal thickness after the operation
  • Gender
  • The temperature of the operating theatre
  • How old you were at the time of your operation

Different laser vision correction techniques have also been associated with varying risks of regression. One study found that LASIK for short-sightedness resulted in the greatest risk of regression compared to PRK and SMILE. However, the incidence was still quite low at 3.8% after 10 years. 

It can be possible to undergo a retreatment or enhancement procedure if you experience regression though it may not be the same technique as your original operation. In fact, some surgeons include a touch-up procedure in their fees for the original surgery if a regression happens within a certain timeframe. If you’re concerned about the possibility of regression after LASIK eye surgery, make an appointment with your surgeon by calling on 03 9000 0389 to discuss your risk factors and the clinic’s policy on retreatment.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

 

 

 

References

Factors predicting the need for retreatment after laser refractive surgery.
https://journals.lww.com/corneajrnl/Abstract/2016/05000/Factors_Predicting_the_Need_for_Retreatment_After.5.aspx

SMILE offers low enhancement rate after nomogram adjustment.
https://www.ophthalmologytimes.com/view/smile-offers-low-enhancement-rate-after-nomogram-adjustment

How long does LASIK last?
https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/how-long-does-lasik-last

 

 

 

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