One of the most common questions asked by patients considering LASIK surgery is, “how long does LASIK last?”
It is a common myth that the effects of LASIK can wear off over time, but that simply isn’t true. To understand the long-term effects of this vision correction procedure, it’s important to know how your eyes work and how the surgery changes your vision.
How We See
The cornea is one of the outermost parts of the eye. It sits in front of the pupil and iris, which is the colored part of the eye. Light passes through the cornea, then goes through the pupil, and then passes through the lens. The lens focuses the light on the retina, which then sends the information to the brain, where that information is interpreted into what we see.
In this process, if the cornea isn’t shaped correctly, the light is bent to focus on the wrong place in your eye, which results in blurry vision. If the light is bent to focus in front of your retina, then objects far away will be blurry. This is called nearsightedness. If the light is bent to focus behind the retina, objects that are close up will be blurry. This is farsightedness.
LASIK works to correct these vision problems by reshaping the cornea so that the light focuses exactly where it should — directly on the retina.
Long-term Effects of LASIK
When you have LASIK surgery, it lasts for the rest of your life because the cornea is permanently reshaped by the procedure. However, this does not prevent the normal changes to your vision that come with aging.
As we get older, our close up vision can become blurry due to presbyopia, which may require us to wear reading glasses or bifocals. This is due to the lens losing its flexibility with age and not the cornea.
LASIK also does not prevent vision changes related to other eye diseases and conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts. Because of this, it’s important to continue comprehensive eye exams every year even after you’ve achieved great vision with laser eye surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions About LASIK
Is LASIK Right for Me?
While LASIK is a great vision correction solution for many people, it is not right for everyone. The best way to find out if you’re a good candidate for the surgery is to schedule a comprehensive eye exam and consultation with an experienced LASIK surgeon, during which they will thoroughly evaluate your eyes and discuss all of your vision correction options.
How long does it take to recover from LASIK?
Most people recover from LASIK surgery very quickly and experience little to no discomfort. It is common to see well enough to drive and even return to work the day after your surgery, and most people report that their vision continues to improve over the next few days.
Does insurance cover LASIK surgery?
In most cases, insurance does not cover the cost of LASIK surgery because it is considered an elective procedure. However, some insurance plans do cover the procedure. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) may also the cost of LASIK, so it’s always worth checking with your insurance provider to see if you have any coverage.
What age is best for LASIK?
There is no “perfect” age for LASIK surgery, but most people who are considering the procedure are at least 18 years old. This is because vision usually stabilizes by this age, so you’re less likely to need a second surgery to correct any residual refractive error.