I am 24 y/o and considering doing Lasik! Is it a one time procedure? Am I too young to get it?
How Long Does Lasik Results Last?
Doctor Answers (6)
Is LASIK "permanent"?
This a great question and one that I frequently hear. Remember that nearsightedness means a person has inherited an eye that is too long; farsightedness means they inherited an eye that is too short; astigmatism means they inherited an eye which is not curved properly. With this information as a backdrop, once your visual condition is corrected with the laser(LASIK or PRK), then that inherited condition is permanently fixed. Since the average patient(let's say 28 years old) is no longer growing, then there is no reason for the eye to grow more, and certainly no reason for it to shrink or change shape. All of this is said with the assumption that the patient remains healthy. Conditions like new onset diabetes can change a patients vision, but that should be understood up front.
As a patient ages, the visual result of LASIK(or PRK) will remain in place and the only change that will occur after age 45 or so will be the decline in reading ability, which will require the use of reading glasses or returning to your surgeon for a near procedure.
How Long Does LASIK Last?
Believe it or not, throughout our lives the eye balls are constantly exposed to various mechanical stressors. Blinking several times a minute, rubbing ones eyes, sleeping face down in the pillow will all eventually have an effect on the shape of the eye and thus may cause a change in prescription. Remarkably, these changes are minimal. A small percentage of patients regress slightly as a result of healing. If a significant amount of regression occurs an enhancement procedure may be performed months or years after the procedure.
LASIK is approved for patients who are 18 and older. By age 24 it's definitely safe to proceed if your prescription has not changed by more than 0.5 Diopters in one year. In fact 24 may be the best time to do the procedure, as at this age it is associated with very quick healing and visual recovery.
LASIK Candidates and Results
Your LASIK will generally last for the rest of your life. 24 is not too young for LASIK as long as you have no other risk factors. A 24 year old with corneas thicker than 510 microns, a prescription of -8.00 or less and normal scans is generally an excellent candidate for LASIK.
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Hi. As all the doctors have said, Lasik is pretty much a permanent procedure until aging sets in (presbyopia after the age of 45 or so). If a slight number remains, an enhancement can always be done after Lasik.
Permanence of LASEK LASIK
If you go to a laser vision correction specialist who only does refractive surgery, your result will be permanent. This is because he or she would properly overcorrect you a bit to allow for regression (which everyone experiences a bit), and also if you're younger than 30 overcorrect you even more to allow for PROGRESSION, which is because your eye keeps growing until you're 30 (this is called axial progression).
If you go to a person without sufficient experience, he or she will not be confident enough to properly overcorrect you, so you will then wind up nearsighted all over again, and need an enhancement, which is not the end of the world, but isn't exactly ideal.
In LASEK we can actually fine-tune the results more than when I was doing the older cutting LASIK procedure, by adjusting your dosage of eye drops, either the steroid drops to prevent scarring or add non-steroidal drops (e.g. liquid Motrin) to promote regression if you're over-corrected.
I also don't like it when customers "shop" for surgeons by asking them what % of patients need enhancement, as they could lie for one thing and say 0. In truth, at my center, Park Avenue LASEK, our enhancement rate is 1% for every diopter of Rx you have preop. So if you're a -3.00 for example, you have a 3% chance of needing an enhancement (and a 97% chance of not).
LASIK can last a lifetime
We are often asked about how long LASIK will last, and there is no absolute answer. In the fifteen years we have been performing this procedure it is permanent for most patients. A small percentage of patients will have some decrease in the effect over many years, but in most cases the remaining vision is still very good and although it may be noticed by the patient, objectively almost all of the effect of the LASIK remains.
The most important factors are that the vision is stable to start with. At age 24 a person usually has a fully mature eyeball and thus the vision is unlikely to change, but it is certainly possible that the natural amount of correction could still increase for the next few years. Therefore the question that we would ask in response is whether there has been any change in the prescription for the last few years.
Sometimes patients also have a corneal structure which is not as strong as it should be and LASIK can weaken this structure even further, resulting in a loss of effect of the procedure and in rare cases the vision being made worse than it was to start with. We look at scans of the eyes carefully and avoid doing LASIK in these particular cases. It is sometimes difficult to pick out the cases where the LASIK may not be as effective or as permanent, and as such it is possible to have LASIK and still have regression of the result.
For most patients, LASIK creates a permanent change in the shape of the eye. Until advancing age requires reading glasses, or other problems such as cataracts occur, the results from LASIK are very long lasting. In the unusual case where there is a change in the vision most of the time a "touch up" or "enhancement" can be performed to further improve the results.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.