Laser Eye Surgery The Second Time Around
A common question patients ask about laser eye surgery is “is the treatment permanent?” and the answer is, a little blurry. Just like your prescription for eyeglasses has changed slowly over time, so too, will your vision after laser eye surgery.
The laser surgery itself and the physical changes it will make to your eyes is indeed permanent. However the natural aging process we all experience will bring about changes to our eyes.
So another question arises, “can you have laser eye surgery twice?” and the answer is yes, pending your doctor’s approval.
A Quick Recap
Laser eye surgery (LASIK or PRK) is a process of reshaping the cornea in order to correct refractive errors that cause farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. This correction is achieved through the removal of a very small amount of tissue from the cornea. This tissue will not grow back (this is the permanent aspect of laser eye surgery)
Typically most patients will experience incredible vision enhancement that lasts for years if not decades. But as mentioned above our bodies and our eyes will continue to age and bring about change to how we see the world around us.
The Second Time Around
As we age, the muscles that control our eyes weaken, our eye’s natural lens begins to stiffen causing presbyopia, and although our laser eye surgery has provided us with clear vision for the last 10 years, we now find ourselves reaching for our eyeglasses once again to clear up our day-to-day.
If you have experienced a regression in your prescription years after laser eye surgery, you may be eligible for a second treatment. Your surgeon will be able to advise you regarding your eligibility depending on your corneal thickness are other health requirements.
Laser Eye Surgery Enhancement
Although slim, the possibility of needing a second laser eye surgery after your initial surgery exists. During your post-operative aftercare period following treatment, if visual acuity is not achieved, your physician may determine the need for a second treatment for maximum effectiveness.
Around 2% of patients find themselves in need of a second treatment due to a number of reasons (other than age).
- The overall health of your corneas
- The severity of your refractive error
- The specific visual condition you suffer; farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism
- Over/under healing of the cornea (typically age or environment related)
An enhancement treatment is very much like the original procedure. The original flap created in the cornea is pulled back to allow more corneal tissue to be removed by the excimer laser to further alter the curvature of the cornea to achieve visual acuity.
Will I Need A Second Treatment?
Whether the result of age-related regression, or under/overhealing, the need for a second laser eye surgery is rare. Fewer than 5% of patients require any follow up treatments at all in their lifetime.
To learn more about how laser eye surgery works and whether you may be eligible for treatment or enhancement, please call or contact one of our locations online today!