Are you dependent on contacts or glasses to see clearly? You’re not alone! Approximately 159.2 million Americans wear corrective glasses and another 45 million wear contact lenses.
Having less than 20/20 vision is both inconvenient and expensive. You’re likely to spend at least a few hundred dollars each year on glasses and contacts. When you can’t see without visual aids, life is also inevitably more difficult.
This might have led you to start thinking about Lasik surgery. However, this surgery comes with a hefty price tag and more than a few legitimate concerns.
Is Lasik permanent? Is it worth the cost? These are just a few of the questions to ask before making your decision.
Here’s everything you need to know so you can decide for yourself whether Lasik is right for you.
What is Lasik Surgery?
Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is a surgical procedure that aims to correct vision problems including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.
It works by reshaping the clear front of the eye, called the cornea, so the light that filters through can focus clearly on the retina. This procedure has been used for over 25 years and close to 96% of people who undergo the surgery achieve their desired vision results. Lasik surgery is considered successful if it results in clear, crisp vision without the need for glasses or contacts.
Is Lasik Permanent?
The answer to this question is yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have perfect vision forever. The reshaping of the cornea is a permanent treatment for the vision condition that’s present at the time of the surgery.
However, there is a chance that your eyes can change after surgery. Over your lifetime your nearsightedness or farsightedness may progress, requiring enhancement surgery to bring you back to your post-Lasik vision. This is rare, though, because doctors generally require you to wait until your vision has stabilized before performing the surgery in the first place.
Generally, you’ll need to have no changes to your vision prescription for at least 12 months before a surgeon will consider you a good candidate for Lasik surgery.
The Effects of Aging
Just like most other parts of your body, your eyes change over time as you age. By the time we reach 40, we experience a condition called “presbyopia,” which is actually Greek for “Aging Eyes.” This occurs in almost all humans, even those who previously had 20/20 vision.
Presbyopia is a hardening of your eye’s lens. This causes difficulty seeing up close, especially in dim light.
Presbyopia can make it difficult to read and perform other tasks that require you to see clearly up close, like threading a needle. In most cases, reading glasses will correct the condition.
Unfortunately, Lasik eye surgery can’t prevent the natural aging of your eyes. This means that even if you’ve had a successful Lasik surgery, you may end up needing reading glasses in the future.
There’s also a chance of developing cataracts, another age-related eye disease that’s completely unrelated to Lasik surgery. If this happens, you might need cataract surgery to correct the issue.
It’s a common misconception that receiving Lasik surgery prevents patients from being able to have surgery to correct presbyopia or cataracts in the future. This is simply not true.
A Word About Enhancement Procedures
Considering the significant Lasik surgery cost, and the fact that this procedure is rarely covered by insurance, it’s no surprise that most patients want some reassurance that their surgery is going to last. While there are no guarantees, the need for secondary surgery, also called “Lasik enhancement” is extremely rare in the first year or two after surgery.
After that, the chances increase slightly each year, with the highest number of requests for enhancement occurring 10 or more years after the initial surgery.
Most patients who have received Lasik surgery and later experienced vision changes note that the changes are often so slight that they’re almost unnoticeable.
Others find that they need glasses for some tasks, like driving at night, but otherwise can still enjoy their daily lives without the need for vision aids. In this case, they usually don’t find the inconvenience significant enough to warrant undergoing another surgery.
Are Enhancement Procedures Covered?
If you need to go back for a “touch up” enhancement surgery, you may or may not have to pay for it. Some Lasik packages include follow-up surgeries while other surgeons offer lower-cost “enhancement plans.” Still, others don’t offer any type of a deal or discount.
This is something you’ll want to ask your surgeon about before you commit to the initial surgery. This way, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing whether your surgeon stands behind his or her work. You’ll also avoid any unpleasant financial surprises that otherwise could arise if you find that you need an enhancement surgery in the future.
Find the Answers to More Burning Questions
If you’re sick of fumbling around in the dark looking for your glasses or dealing with putting in your contact lenses before you leave the house, Lasik surgery can change your life.
Now that you know the answer to the question, “Is Lasik permanent?” you can decide whether this procedure is right for you.
Our website is full of interesting articles that will answer even more of your most important questions. Take some time to browse through our blog, and you’ll be surprised by how much you learn! Make sure to bookmark our site and check back often so you can keep up on all our latest tips!