People considering laser vision correction with LASIK usually want to know how long the results of surgery last. Will the clear, crisp vision produced by LASIK last forever, or does visual clarity dissipate over time? Experienced LASIK surgeon Ernest Kornmehl of Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates reveals the answer in this post.
LASIK Results Are Permanent
LASIK corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism by using a laser to physically reshape the cornea and eliminate the imperfections causing the refractive error. In most cases, the visual improvement produced by LASIK is considered permanent, as the imperfections do not return.
A very small percentage of LASIK patients experience unsatisfactory results from the procedure, or notice their vision regresses after surgery. This is very rare, and more likely to occur in patients whose vision prescription is unstable prior to LASIK surgery. For this reason, Dr. Kornmehl screens every LASIK candidate carefully to determine whether their prescription has remained stable over the past year or so, prior to recommending surgery.
The Eye Continues to Age Normally
It’s important to understand that LASIK cannot prevent the onset of other changes to the eye — particularly, presbyopia. The age-related loss of reading vision happens to nearly everyone in their adulthood. Some people that have LASIK surgery in their younger years do not understand why they develop presbyopia and assume that their LASIK results have “worn off.”
LASIK doesn’t prevent presbyopia, delay its development or make it better or worse. While LASIK reshapes the cornea, presbyopia affects a completely different part of the eye: the lens, which sits behind the cornea. As the normally flexible lens ages, it becomes hard and rigid, which makes it difficult to bend to focus on nearby objects. This is why you see adults start to reach for reading glasses after the age of 40, or hold a menu or book at arm’s length.
LASIK also does not prevent the onset of cataracts, which occur later in life. The normally clear lens starts to cloud, causing blurry vision, dull colors and other visual symptoms. Nearly everyone develops cataracts if they live long enough.
Just as LASIK doesn’t play a role in the development or prevention of conditions like cataracts or presbyopia, it does not affect a person’s ability to have those visual conditions treated. LASIK doesn’t prevent a person from having treatment for presbyopia, or cataract surgery to remove and replace the clouded lens.
For more information about typical LASIK outcomes, please request a consultation with Dr. Kornmehl by calling 1-877-870-2010 or emailing Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates today.