One of the most common queries about laser eye surgery is whether the procedure provides permanent vision correction. It is completely understandable that before you commit time and money to an elective procedure, you want to know how long the results last. Read on as Dr Joshua Hann of Eastside Eye Specialist Care sheds some light on the kind of results you can expect from surgery.
Permanently Reshapes the Cornea
During LASIK and PRK procedures, state-of-the-art lasers ablate and remove some of the corneal tissue. This counteracts the imperfections of the eye that cause what are known as refractive errors — those that require glasses or contact lenses to see clearly.
The changes to the shape and curvature of the cornea do not regress or “wear off” in the years following surgery. However, in some situations the body will try and “fill in” the new shape of the cornea, which can affect visual clarity. It is Dr Hann’s job as a laser eye surgeon to figure out which eyes can safely undergo this procedure and which eyes may be better off with a different treatment — including instances where this risk of the body filling in the new shape of the cornea is deemed too large.
The Onset of Age-Related Vision Problems
Keep in mind that if your vision changes slightly over time, it does not mean your laser eye surgery failed. Laser eye surgery corrects existing vision correction needs, but it does not stop or delay the natural aging process. Your eyes will continue to age normally after LASIK or PRK, and you may experience other vision problems affecting other parts of your optical system.
One of the most common age-related vision conditions is presbyopia, or the loss of reading vision, which often sets in around the age of 40. Presbyopia affects the lens, whereas laser eye surgery addresses the cornea. A young, healthy lens is flexible and able to bend and flex in order to focus on objects at different distances. But with advancing age, the lens loses its flexibility and can no longer focus on nearby objects. This is why you see adults around the age of 40 or older start to hold reading material, like smartphones or menus, at arm’s length in order to see clearly.
Laser eye surgery does not prevent or increase the chances of developing presbyopia; it also does not impact the ability to undergo treatment for presbyopia. Options like lens replacement surgery can help restore clear reading vision compromised by presbyopia.
Another common age-related change in the eyes is the development of cataracts (cloudiness of the lens). Laser eye surgery does not prevent cataracts, and it does not preclude an individual with cataracts from undergoing cataract surgery to reclaim clear vision.
Learn More About Laser Eye Surgery
If you would like to discuss laser eye surgery with Dr Hann, we invite you to schedule a consultation at our practice today. Contact us to request an appointment.