Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is an elective surgical procedure that can improve your vision. It works by reshaping the transparent outer layer of the eye, known as the cornea. When light enters the eye, the cornea bends the light and focuses it on the back section. Light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, known as the retina, absorbs the light and sends this information to your brain. There, your brain translates these messages into the images you perceive.
Clear vision relies on how effectively the cornea bends and focuses light. Depending on the corneal shape, the light will focus directly on the retina (clear vision) or in front/behind it (fuzzy image). Using the LASIK procedure, your eye doctor changes the shape of your cornea to improve the way it bends and focuses light. These changes are permanent.
Age-related changes to the eye can affect vision after LASIK
Unfortunately, your eyes change with age, and many of these changes affect the sharpness of your vision. While LASIK can correct blurry vision by reshaping the cornea, it cannot delay natural changes over time (e.g., cataracts) or prevent eye diseases that may occur later in life (e.g., glaucoma). Your vision may also worsen if your initial refractive error (e.g., near-sightedness) continues to progress after your LASIK procedure.
Another natural eye change, known as presbyopia, can cause your vision to worsen many years after you undergo LASIK. Presbyopia causes the lens of your eye to become less flexible and therefore less able to focus on nearby objects.
Most people who have had LASIK are still happy with their vision ten years after undergoing the procedure. Research shows that about one in ten study participants experienced age-related vision changes throughout the 12-year study.
If your vision worsens again for other reasons following your initial LASIK procedure, you may be able to undergo a LASIK enhancement. Whether you are a candidate for an enhancement depends on various factors, including how much corneal tissue the laser removed during your first procedure.
For more information on whether the LASIK procedure could be a pathway toward a lifetime of clear vision, please consult with your eye doctor at Illinois Eye Center.