Anyone considering LASIK vision correction surely wonders how long its effects last. LASIK is an investment in your health, and as with any investment, you should be educated on what you can expect. This article discusses how this procedure affects your eyes and what you can look forward to on a long-term basis.
To best understand the long-term effects of LASIK, it is important to have some basic information about your eyes and how the procedure affects them. LASIK works by reshaping the tissue of the cornea, one of the outermost parts of the eye. The cornea sits in front of the pupil and iris, the colored part of the eye. The cornea is like your eye’s window to the world. Light passes through the cornea and is bent according to the shape of your cornea. If your cornea is misshapen, it will bend light so that it focuses at the wrong place in your eye, which makes images blurry. After passing through the cornea, light goes through the pupil, where it then passes through the lens. The lens bends the light again to focus on the retina, a complex layer of cells that reacts to light and sends the information to the brain. The brain then interprets the information so we can see.
If you are nearsighted, light on objects in the distance does not focus on the retina but in front of it. Objects that are far away appear blurry, but close-up objects are seen clearly. Farsightedness is the exact opposite. The light on close objects does not focus on the retina but behind it. Close-up objects appear blurry, but distant objects are seen clearly.
LASIK works by reshaping the corneal tissue. Once that tissue is reshaped, the focal point of the eye changes. Light focuses precisely on the retina, and the blurriness from either near or farsightedness is corrected or dramatically improved.
The corneal reshaping performed during this procedure is considered to be permanent. However, it does not prevent age-related vision changes; that’s why annual checkups are still important. Keep your yearly exam schedule, so you and your eye doctor can identify and control conditions such as glaucoma in its early stages, and you can maintain the best vision possible. Many patients stop going to the eye doctor because their vision is so good, but it’s wise to have the doctor monitor your eyes as you age. As people grow older, they may develop cataracts, which can cause blurriness. The same goes for other age-related vision issues, such as presbyopia and macular degeneration.
Take your overall medical and family history into account when considering a LASIK investment. While the corneal tissue reshaping from LASIK will not wear off, it doesn’t prevent health and age-related vision changes. However, these changes would happen regardless of whether or not you had LASIK, and most patients find that it’s worth investing in dramatically improved vision that can last as long as their eye health does.
LASIK reshapes the cornea to refocus the way light hits the cornea and correct less than perfect vision. Many patients enjoy years of greatly improved vision, provided they work with their eye doctors to consistently monitor their vision and overall eye health.
“My results were greater than expected. I had severe myopia, and the doctor was concerned that I would not be able to achieve 20/20 vision without an additional correction. Thanks to the laser at my LASIK provider, I have 20/15 vision. The procedure was eight years ago, and my eyesight is still perfect. I’ve also saved money on glasses, contact lenses and other supplies.” – Edward, LASIK patient
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