How Long Does LASIK Last

One of the most common myths regarding LASIK surgery is that the effect wears off. This is not true. In fact, the effects of LASIK are permanent and should last indefinitely in the vast majority of cases. During LASIK surgery, an excimer laser changes the shape of the cornea, which is the clear outer structure of the eye, and treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The changes that the laser makes are permanent and do not change over time.

A small percentage (less than 3 percent) of patients heal differently than typical patients and require an enhancement of their original treatment, but this is not because the effect of the original procedure wore off. Surgeons are usually able to tell within the first 12 months after LASIK whether the patient will need an enhancement surgery, and there should not be any healing-related changes beyond that time. A small percentage of patients may develop a small degree of myopia, also known as nearsightedness, in their 20s; this is typically seen in students who are reading intensely during those years. This change is due to a lengthening of the eyeball and is not related to the LASIK surgery, as the cornea changes made by the laser are permanent.

One major source of confusion, and the main reason for the wearing-off myth, is the onset of dysfunctional lens syndrome, often referred to as presbyopia. As aging occurs, everyone experiences natural vision changes in the internal lens of the eye, whether or not they’ve had LASIK. These lens changes are not related to LASIK surgery, nor are they caused by LASIK surgery. They occur in every eye. Fortunately, there are solutions for dysfunctional lens syndrome.

If you have had LASIK and are finding yourself having trouble with your vision, schedule your consultation today with Lance Kugler, MD, to learn more about your vision and why it is changing. We can help.