For people with less-than-perfect vision who dream of ditching their glasses or contacts, Lasik can seem like a perfect solution. Regrettably, perfection is rare in this world. Anyone considering a serious medical procedure like Lasik should weigh the pros and cons carefully beforehand. Should you be concerned about vision regression after Lasik?
Vision Regression After Lasik
To better understand the possibility of vision regression after Lasik, it helps to understand how Lasik works, what vision regression is, and how the human eye naturally changes over time. This information may make it easier for you to accurately envision the possible pros and cons of life after Lasik.
Lasers, Eyeballs, and Vision Correction
As the American Academy of Ophthalmology explains, laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, which is more popularly known as Lasik, is an outpatient refractive surgery that can be used to treat common vision issues like astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. During this procedure, an Optometrist uses a laser to meticulously remove the desired amount of corneal tissue. This permanently reshapes the cornea, which improves the eye’s ability to focus light onto the retina and helps the person see more clearly.
Defining Vision Regression
Regression is typically defined as a return to a former state. If you are using that definition, then vision regression after Lasik is a myth. As the Mayo Clinic points out, Lasik removes tissue from the cornea, making permanent changes to the eye. The eye is unlikely to revert to its previous state of dysfunction, so it technically does not regress in the purest sense of the word. However, that does not mean that your vision won’t change after the procedure.
While scientists may have an extremely precise notion of exactly what regression means, most people concerned about the possibility of vision regression after Lasik are not worried that their vision will return to exactly what it was before the procedure. They are actually concerned that their vision will deteriorate over time. This is possible.
Why Vision Improvements from Lasik May Fade
Although Lasik forever changes the eye, the improvements it produces can fade with time. As the American Refractive Surgery Council reports, there are a couple of reasons why it may seem like the vision improvements wrought by Lasik regress:
- The Progression of Nearsightedness or Farsightedness: While Lasik corrects existing nearsightedness or farsightedness, it does not halt the advancement of these conditions. If your eyes are prone to these conditions, they may continue to develop, which can eventually result in vision that is less than ideal.
- The Start of Presbyopia: Like many parts of the human body, the eye changes as people age. As people reach their 40s, the ability of the eye’s lens to focus on objects close to it generally begins to diminish. It is called presbyopia, and Lasik does not stop the hands of time to prevent it. However, Lasik does not do anything to speed the condition’s development or worsen its effects.
A 2013 survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that nearly two-thirds of respondents who had undergone laser vision-correction surgery were disappointed to find that they still had to wear glasses or contacts at least occasionally due to vision regression after Lasik. Considering that most people elect to undergo Lasik because they’re tired of wearing glasses or contacts, this is a distressing fact. In addition, keep in mind that whether or not you have Lasik, you will likely need to wear reading glasses in your senior years.
If the initial results of Lasik are unsatisfactory or the patient’s eyes change as time passes, a second Lasik procedure, or Lasik enhancement, may be recommended. How common is this? According to the American Refractive Surgery Council, the enhancement rate hovers around one to two percent in the first year. Then, it averages roughly one percent per year.
Although it is rare for a Lasik procedure to result in a complete loss of vision, it can happen and often some side effects may occur. In addition to vision regression, you might experience complications from Lasik, including dry eyes, glare, halos, double vision, astigmatism, infection, or excess tears. It is also possible for your vision to be undercorrected or overcorrected if the obliterated tissues from the eye is not perfect.
Is Lasik Right for You?
Lasik is not for everyone. As the Food and Drug Administration indicates, good candidates have the following qualities:
- They are at least 18 years old.
- They have stable vision with no changes in their vision prescription in the last year.
- They are generally healthy without any medications or conditions that might interfere with healing.
- Their eyes are physically suitable without overly large pupils or thin corneas.
- They are comfortable with the inherent risks involved in undergoing a surgical procedure.
Are you intrigued by the possibilities Lasik offers? Talk to an eye doctor. Although a lot of information is available online, the internet can’t compete with a consultation with an optometrist.
Stop by Heffington’s if you live in southwest Missouri. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an email to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!