One of the most common questions asked about laser eye surgery is, “Does laser eye surgery last forever?”
Well, unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward yes or no answer to this question. Your future vision can’t be absolutely predicted as it’s subject to change and fluctuates over your lifetime.
However, we have a very good understanding of the common ways in which eyes change over time for all refractive errors: short-sight, long-sight, astigmatism and presbyopia (reading glasses).
The longest benefit comes from laser eye surgery for short-sight and astigmatism treatments, assuming the prescription is stable at the time of the procedure.
So, whilst the procedure does make a permanent change, natural anatomical conditions and ageing can have an impact on how it affects your vision. These changes are somewhat different for everybody, so there’s no predicting how the treatment may affect you and how long it may last for. Let’s explore.
In order to get a full understanding of just how long laser eye surgery lasts for, we believe it’s necessary to get to full grips with how the procedure works. We’ll cover:
- How Does Laser Eye Surgery Work?
- Does Age Affect Laser Eye Surgery?
- Are Further Procedures Required?
How Does Laser Eye Surgery Work?
Laser eye surgery involves reshaping your cornea to correct refractive errors including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia (the need for reading glasses). The reshaping and remodelling of your cornea are achieved by removing some of the collagenous corneal tissue using an excimer laser. The laser permanently evaporates a very thin amount of collagen, steepening or flattening the cornea to create better vision through sharper focus of light onto the retina.
This removal is a permanent alteration. But everybody’s eyes are different, so the results can vary over time. It also means that the thickness of their corneas is different too, so that can determine whether or not you can have a follow-up treatment.
A lot of people may associate laser eye surgery with pain and discomfort. However, they couldn’t be more wrong. Firstly, your surgeon will provide you with a local anaesthetic to numb the targeted area. These are in the form of eye drops, so don’t worry if you’re not the biggest fan of needles.
After the numbness has kicked in, the surgeon will use a femtosecond laser to create a thin, precise flap in the cornea. The corneal tissue underneath will be reshaped using another laser that sends pulses out.
The femtosecond laser is a safer alternative and more accurate tool for creating a thin upper flap in the cornea. In the past, surgeons would have used a small blade. If surgeons are still operating this way, we’d advise that you choose elsewhere. The laser produces more accurate results and you want the best possible outcome for the clearest eyesight, don’t you?
"A lot of people may associate laser eye surgery with pain and discomfort. However, they couldn’t be more wrong."
Once the tissue has been reshaped so it can properly focus light onto the retina, the corneal flap will be put back in place and the surgery is complete. It’s as easy as that.
Laser eye surgery is a very short procedure (a matter of minutes) and it’s not painful. Patients may feel some pressure when the surgeon is creating the flap in their cornea, but other than that, it’s a comfortable procedure.
Does Age Affect Laser Eye Surgery?
As we’ve mentioned, over the course of your lifetime, your eyes are going to change, particularly for reading vision. It’s natural. Your distance vision and prescription tend to stabilise in your twenties, which is regarded as the start of the optimal age for laser eye surgery (anywhere in the range of 18-65 can be suitable for treatment).
Optical errors and close vision issues become more common as you get older, particularly as you enter your forties.
This is due to presbyopia, a condition that’s a natural part of ageing and affects everyone by the early fifties. This isn’t anything to do with your corneas but it affects the natural lens, becoming more rigid with time, reducing the ability to flex and ‘zoom in’ for reading.
So, whether you’ve had laser eye surgery or had 20/20 vision your entire life, your near vision will naturally worsen with age. Fortunately, LASIK Blended Vision is an excellent option for many people to allow them to read again without glasses.
Are Further Procedures Required?
There are two common situations where a further procedure may be needed:
- Some adjustment is needed after the first procedure, often referred to as an enhancement, to fine tune the initial outcome. This occurs in around 1-4% of cases for most prescriptions.
- Patients have had a successful correction of their distance vision, but then, years later, develop the normal need for reading glasses in their 40s. This can often be helped with a second laser procedure to create Blended Vision.
Your surgeon should monitor your recovery and let you know if further attention is required. Any additional treatment is usually carried out between three to six months after the initial procedure.
The changes made to the cornea are permanent but the natural effects of ageing mean that patients aren’t guaranteed 100% vision forever. Blended Vision can offer a return to freedom from glasses, even if previous surgery has been performed. Obviously, another consultation will be needed and the patient must be confirmed as suitable before another treatment can be offered.
Focus Clinic Can Help
At Focus Clinic, we’re the only clinic in the country with a 100 percent success rate. This is why we’re the UK’s most trusted laser eye surgery clinic, ranked #1 on Trustpilot for all UK clinics.
Our surgeons are some of the best in the industry. One happy customer said that, “David Allamby lasered my eyes nearly 11 years ago and they’re still perfect.” Which goes to show that we’re on top of our game.
We’ve created a free pack that includes everything you need to know about laser eye surgery. From the procedures to the benefits and potential side effects, it’s all included in there. But feel free to get in touch with us if you have any brief queries that you need help with.
Download our free pack below.