LASIK eye surgery stands for laser-in-situ keratomileusis, and it is a surgery that can rectify vision in people who have farsighted vision, nearsighted vision, or those who have astigmatism. It is a popular vision-correction surgery that reshapes the cornea, which is the front section of the eye. The surgery is a corrective procedure that ensures light focuses on the retina in the back of the eye.
When Should You Consider LASIK Eye Surgery?
Doctors perform LASIK when light doesn’t focus on your retina correctly. Doctors refer to it as a refractive error, and when you have this refractive error, you experience blurry vision. Myopia or nearsightedness is when you see things close to you, but things further away are blurry. Hyperopia or farsightedness is when you see things that are far away more clearly, but closer things seem blurry. Astigmatism is a condition where everything seems blurry because of the shape of the eye.
However, LASIK surgery is not suitable for everyone, and some people may experience unsatisfactory surgery results. It is important that you consult with your doctor to see whether LASIK is right for you. People who should not have LASIK surgery include:
- Children under 18 years
- Pregnant or nursing women
- People with thin or uneven corneas
- People with existing eye conditions like glaucoma or very dry eyes
- Pre-existing health issues like lupus, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis
- People with recent refractive surgery
- People with fluctuating hormones
How Long Does LASIK Last?
If you have decided to have LASIK eye surgery in Los Angeles, you may wonder, “how long does LASIK last?” The majority of people who have LASIK eye surgery retain their vision after 10 years. Some factors that affect how long LASIK lasts include your age when performing the surgery and the progression of your vision.
LASIK surgery involves two types of lasers: one is a femtosecond laser that creates the cornea flap, and the other is an excimer ultraviolet laser that reshapes the corneal tissue. The laser vaporizes and reshapes a portion of the cornea using pulses. The procedure does not require any stitches, and it takes about 20 minutes on each eye.
How Do Doctors Perform LASIK Eye Surgery?
Doctors normally give patients a mild sedative or drops to numb the eye. Doctors then use a femtosecond or microkeratome laser device to make a thin flap in the cornea. They will peel the cornea back using another laser to reshape the tissue underneath. Doctors then put the flap back in place.
After the surgery, doctors will prescribe eye drops to prevent infection and inflammation and to keep the eyes moist. You should expect better vision after a few days. During the recovery period, you should not perform the following activities:
- Playing contact sports
- Using hot tubs or whirlpools
- Driving at night
- Using lotion, creams, makeup, or perfumes
How Long Is LASIK Good For?
A study found out that about 35% of patients who had LASIK surgery required re-treatment over 10 years. In another study, when doctors performed LASIK on patients with astigmatism and/or nearsightedness, there were changes over a 12-year period. The study concluded that in 12 years, around 10% of the study participants had eye-related vision changes over that period.
So, how long does LASIK eye surgery last? There is a common myth that LASIK is not permanent and only lasts for a few years. The truth is, LASIK permanently rectifies farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. The surgery reshapes the cornea by eliminating imperfections in the cornea permanently. This means that your eyes can’t regress after LASIK. However, occasionally, an individual’s myopia or hyperopia actually progresses. The eyes change over the course of time, but they will never be as bad as they were before LASIK.
If your vision becomes blurry again for other reasons after the surgery, you may have LASIK enhancements even years later. However, this depends on how much tissue your doctor removed in the first surgery and how much the doctor left.
LASIK enhancement is a follow-up LASIK procedure that is usually done if you are not satisfied with the original vision-correction surgery. Modern LASIK has lowered the rate of enhancement to only about 1-2% in the first year and then 1% a year as an individual’s eyes change with time. Individuals whose refraction (eyes refracts light entering it to form an image on the retina) is unstable before the surgery stand at a higher risk of needing enhancements.
It is important that your doctor confirms whether you have changed your glasses over the past years before the surgery. Some doctors may charge an enhancement fee while others do the surgery at no extra cost to the patient. It is important you check these details with your doctor before undergoing LASIK surgery.
Can LASIK Be Repeated?
The short answer is yes, but it not that straightforward. When dealing with eyesight, each case is unique. Doctors look at a lot of factors to ensure patients are suitable for treatment. There are various reasons why you may need a second surgery, and doctors judge each patient separately. You will need an expert opinion to determine whether you need the procedure.
As with all surgical procedures, there is always the element of risk. LASIK has very few risks involved, but doctors must consider all factors. In the majority of the cases, the surgery is very successful. The likelihood of a second treatment is very slim. A second treatment is usually as a result of regression of your eyesight or problems with healing. Other reasons that may lead to a second procedure include vision changes, normal aging, and hormonal changes. Only a small percentage of patients require additional procedures or follow-up treatment.
Are There Risks With LASIK?
Yes, although few, there are potential risks and complications with LASIK surgery. They include a poor healing flap that is usually caused by an infection or an excessive amount of tears. Another potential risk is your cornea’s irregular healing pattern underneath the flap, which can cause vision problems and discomfort. The eyes may also end up having an irregular shape if the tissue is not removed evenly. You may experience severe dry eye syndrome, as well, which can cause vision problems and discomfort due to lack of enough tears.
Other risks include vision loss or decreased vision. This is very rare. Additional risks include long-term vision problems in dim light and removal of too little or too much tissue. It is important that the eye remains undisturbed after LASIK as rubbing and poking may misplace the flap in position and disrupt the healing process.
How Much Does LASIK Cost?
The cost of LASIK largely depends on where you choose to perform the surgery. The price includes a preoperative assessment and postoperative follow-up exams as well as the procedure. The cost of enhancements is sometimes added to the follow-up procedure. LASIK is not usually covered by most insurance companies since it is usually considered an elective procedure.
Are you considering LASIK eye surgery? CCRS has the best ICL and LASIK surgeon in Los Angeles. Dr Paul C. Lee is the first U.S surgeon to perform the most advanced VisuMax-Contoura LASIK. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.