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Will My LASIK Procedure Wear Off Over Time?

Friday, August 25, 2017

The short answer is “no”. LASIK is a permanent procedure.

One of the most common myths about LASIK is that the results “wear off”. A lot of people assume they will have to undergo multiple procedures to maintain the results. 

LASIK is a permanent surgical vision correction procedure. A laser is used to change the shape of the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Reshaping your cornea is a permanent change and therefore, it does not “wear off”.

Whether you are near-sighted, far-sighted or have astigmatism, LASIK is one of the most commonly performed procedure for the surgical correction of refractive errors. Performed under a thin flap made on the surface of the eye (the cornea) LASIK is accurate, and is painless for most patients. It takes about 14 minutes for both eyes. In a study of 100 eyes, more than 95% of ClearChoice patients saw 20/20 or better the very next day. Nationally, 12% of LASIK patients have needed a LASIK enhancement. At ClearChoice, our enhancement rate is just 5%. Enhancements are sometimes necessary because not every patient heals as the doctors’ formulas assume they will.  

Like the rest of our body, our eyes will age over time. When we reach our early 40s, our eyes experience natural changes in the crystalline lens located inside the eye – behind the iris.  In normal healthy eyes before 40ish, the lens flexes and changes shape allowing us to see objects at near when flexed in one direction and at far when flexed in another direction.

As we age, the lens gradually becomes more rigid and the flexibility it once had to help us see clearly at near is lost. The most noticeable effect of this lens becoming rigid is the loss of near vision in 40 and 50-year old’s who now have to use reading glasses to read small print or a menu in dim light.  This loss of the ability to focus at near is not LASIK “wearing off” because remember, LASIK is performed on the surface of the eye. Rather, it is your lens inside of the eye aging with you. This hardening of the lens inside the eye is a condition called presbyopia. 

Presbyopia is one of the first changes that happen in the eye as a result of age.

Breaking down age related changes to vision: 

Stage #1: Early 40s – 50s  

Here we begin to notice changes in our near vision. We start to have problems focusing on close objects, especially reading books or news reports, or reading a menu at a restaurant in dim light. This is the onset of presbyopia. Reading glasses are usually recommended as a quick way to remedy the problem, but up close vision will get worse over time.

Good candidates for the surgical correction of presbyopia have great options today, such as monovision LASIK, corneal inlays, or intraocular lens (IOL) surgery.  These procedures take only a few minutes, and are highly accurate. These procedures are also painless for most patients, and performed as an outpatient procedure with a short recovery period.  For people who want to be glasses free for most activities, a free consultation at ClearChoice will be a great first step.  

Stage #2: 50s to early 60s  

Your night vision starts to decay and you’re aware of the “starbursts” on headlights in oncoming traffic.  Your near vision continues to diminish and bright light is required for almost all reading materials. The flashlight on your cell phone is used regularly to read menus in restaurants. Prescription bifocal glasses are usually prescribed as a quick way to remedy the problem.

Good candidates for the surgical correction of presbyopia at stage 2, also have great a great option. Intraocular lens (IOL) exchange procedures and corneal inlays can be a great solution for someone at stage 2. These procedures, like LASIK, take only a few minutes, are highly accurate, virtually painless, performed as an outpatient procedure and have a short recovery period.  For people who want to be glasses free for most activities, talk to your eye doctor about your vision need and expectations as different types of inlays and IOLs are available.

Stage #3: 65 onwards  

The lens in your eye not only is rigid and hard, it becomes cloudy with age. A cataract can make your vision diminish severely. The cloudier the lens is, the blurrier your vision becomes.  This condition is known as a cataract. 

Cataract surgery is a commonly performed outpatient procedure. Like LASIK, a cataract procedure takes only a few minutes, is painless for most patients, and is performed as an outpatient procedure with a short recovery period. There are different types of cataract replacement lenses available. A cataract evaluation with an ophthalmologist is a great way to start the process.  A visit to an ophthalmologist at the Cleveland Eye Clinic can be a great first step for Cleveland area patients. 



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