LASIK (laser assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a type of refractive procedure that can correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. The goal of LASIK is to provide a reduced dependence on glasses or contact lenses. So how long does LASIK last?
Prospective patients often ask me, “after successful LASIK, how long will the results last?” The answer for most people is years or even decades. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. Approximately 5 percent of patients develop small changes in their eyes that require a second procedure. This can happen three months after the initial procedure or 20 years later.
Presbyopia in Middle-Aged Patients
Another issue to consider is presbyopia, a progressively-diminished ability to focus on nearby objects. This is why many people start wearing reading glasses or bifocals as they reach middle age. Patients who have LASIK before they become presbyopic will need reading glasses to see up-close. An alternative to reading glasses is a laser vision correction procedure called monovision.
Cataracts in Elderly Patients
Elderly patients often get cataracts, cloudiness to the lens inside the eye, that lead to a decrease in vision. Usually this occurs when patients reach their 70s or 80s, but it can happen at any time. Successful cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens; replaces it with a new, flexible, artificial lens; and restores pre-cataract visual acuity.
LASIK changes the shape of the cornea to focus light crisply on the retina. While results vary from patient to patient, the procedure allows many to enjoy years of clearer vision.