Like any new medical procedure, the introduction of LASIK to the public had spurred many questions. The first is whether the vision correction procedure is safe. This is understandable, as most people imagine a James Bond weapon to destroy the world when they hear the word ‘laser’. The lack of world destruction or entire neighborhoods burning down due to malfunctioning lasers has clearly answered this question and yes, LASIK is safe.
The next question was whether LASIK was effective. Since the beginning of time people have been peddling so-called “miracle” products and procedures that claim incredible improvements in someone’s life. LASIK is different from all the snake oil people have been sold, though. Glasses and contacts were a stopgap measure we used until a real solution could be found. The procedure is the inevitable result of technological innovation finally being able to correct vision.
How long will it last?
Since LASIK is a safe and effective procedure, the next question: How long does LASIK last?
This one is a little more complicated to answer with a simple yes or no.
First, we need to look at exactly what LASIK does to correct near sight. The cornea of an eye is a lens. Like any lens, how it focuses light is a function of how the lens is shaped and how clear the lens material is.
Imagine a perfectly flat piece of glass. Its effect on the light passing through it is minimal. Now, picture a concave lens like a magnifying glass. This lens focuses light by altering its path as it passes through the glass. If you want a lens to focus light to an exact degree, the shape must be right for the task.
What LASIK does for people who are nearsighted is reshape the lens. The laser actually shaves the cornea to make it better able to focus the light that we see in a manner that the brain can interpret as a clear picture. The eye does regenerate the tissue removed during LASIK per se, so the effect of the procedure on the eye is permanent.
This, though, is not the only variable at play.
Different Parts of the Human Eye
The cornea is only one part of the eye. Your vision is affected by other parts of your eye as well. Different things can cause the eye to have more or less tautness, warping the cornea and changing the effect it has on the light that passes through it.
Certain medical conditions could cause the pressure in the eye to increase. This added pressure could change the angle of the light coming through the cornea, resulting in a loss of visual clarity.
Another thing that can change the tautness of the eye is time. It has been a given that, as we age, our eyesight suffers. The tight young muscles within the eye that allow perfect focus stiffen up and make it more difficult to focus on close objects. This effect applies to untouched corneas and those reshaped through LASIK.
Case by Case Basis
The other parts of your eye that can affect eyesight make the question of how long LASIK lasts a difficult one to answer. While an exact number of decades, years, or days is practically impossible to predict, the best way to answer is as follows: The effect of LASIK on a patient’s vision lasts just as long as if the patient had a naturally clear vision.
Age and medical problems will affect LASIK improved eyes in exactly the same way they will any other eyes. To get the real truth behind LASIK and shatter myths that could make you reluctant to schedule a LASIK procedure, download Dr. Rothmans LASIK Myths Free eBook the knowledge you need to make a truly informed decision.