How Long Does LASIK Last?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,674
    Dr. Jeff Machat, President and LASIK surgeon of Crystal Clear Vision, discusses how long the results of LASIK surgery lasts.

    Dr. Jeffery J. Machat: Hello! I am Dr. Jeff Machat, Medical Director of Crystal Clear Vision. I have been performing laser vision correction for over 20 years. One of the most common questions that patients ask when we first began was, how long will it last? Back then all we knew was that patients treated overseas and the initial clinical trials were quite stable from one year to the next, but we did not have the 20 years of follow up that we do today. When laser procedures were first being performed, we understood the way the cornea healed and we had experience with a host of other corneal procedures, but today we know, LASIK does remain stable year after year. Make no mistake, it will not stop the natural again or growth of your eyes. So if you are young and your prescription is not stable, or is not completely developed, it will not prevent that continued change. For example, let's say you are 20 years old and your prescriptions is -4 diopters, but genetically when you became 25 you would have been a -5 diopter patient, if you never had LASIK at all. Having LASIK at 20 would then leave you -1 diopter at age 25. The natural growth continues. Similarly, every normally sighted person at age 45 or 50 needs reading glasses or bifocals; some even earlier. If you have LASIK, the natural weakening of the focusing muscles in your 40s will not be prevented. LASIK makes you normally sighted, so like every other normally sighted person in the world, you will also need reading glasses. If you happened to be someone who is mildly nearsighted and have never had LASIK, you will be able to remove your glasses to read but you will be unable to read with your glasses or contact lenses in place. Most of LASIK healing occurs during the first three months following the procedure, but it takes a full year for complete healing, especially with higher or more complicated prescriptions. During that initial period, your vision and prescription fluctuate. Everyone heals differently. Your body does not know that you have had the procedur deliberately, but treats it as any injury trying to heal itself. So there is a tendency in a small percentage of patients to have your prescriptions shift back mildly towards nearsightedness. In these cases, a laser retreatment is necessary, which is usually performed after three to six months to sharpen your vision again. Millions upon millions of LASIK procedures have now been performed around the world, in dozens of countries, and the long-term experiences have all been very similar, so if you are considering LASIK, consult with an eye doctor today.