Does LASIK Last Forever?

Learn more about LASIK at the Charleston office of Dr. Kerry Solomon.

One of the most frequently asked questions – and most persistent myths – is: how long does LASIK last?  Is it forever? Or does it wear off over time?

LASIK is permanent for the treatment of vision problems including nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. Because LASIK uses a laser to physically reshape the cornea to improve its focusing ability, this makes it a permanent treatment for the existing vision prescription at the time of surgery.

But, our eyes – like other parts of our body – change over time. For example, when we hit our forties, everyone will develop presbyopia (Greek for aging eyes). LASIK does not prevent “aging eyes,” which is essentially the hardening of the lens, making it difficult to focus on reading or tasks requiring near vision (especially in dimly lit rooms). Even if you were born with perfect vision in both eyes, you will very likely need reading glasses at some point in your forties.

Additionally, even though you may have had LASIK, it is possible that – over a lifetime – there is a progression of nearsightedness or farsightedness (this is why surgeons look for stability in the prescription before performing LASIK).  If this occurs, patients may be able to opt for retreatment.

With modern LASIK technology, the number of patients needing an enhancement procedure within the first year following LASIK is extremely low – between 1 and 2 percent.  But, as time goes on, that number goes up about one percentage point per year. For example, approximately 10 percent of the patients who had LASIK 10 years ago may need retreating to maintain their clear vision.

While there is a chance your vision will change in the years following LASIK, it will never be the same vision you had before the procedure.

So understanding the facts about LASIK, what can you do to make sure you have clear vision for as long as possible? Here are a few tips:

  • One of the key factors in determining if you are a good candidate for LASIK is the stability of your vision. It is important to be accurate and honest about when the last time your prescription changed. Our policy is at least 12 months of stable vision, to minimize the potential of needing an enhancement within the first year after treatment.
  • Because for most of us presbyopia is an eventuality – meaning just about everyone at some point in their life will need reading glasses – the sooner you can have LASIK, provided you are a good candidate, the longer you can enjoy hassle-free, excellent vision.
  • Importantly, LASIK doesn’t impact a patient’s ability to take advantage of many surgical vision correction options for age-related vision conditions in the future – such as presbyopia and cataracts. Patients who want to continue to have good vision without relying on glasses and contacts may choose from several refractive treatment options including corneal implant, lens replacement surgery, and even a monovision LASIK treatment that corrects one eye for reading and one for distance as needed.

Being a good candidate for LASIK is the best way to know if it is the right vision correction option for you and your lifestyle.  Part of being a good candidate for LASIK is being confident in the fact you will enjoy better vision for years, and perhaps decades, to come.  You can learn more about how LASIK is performed and the vision conditions it can treat here at The American Refractive Surgery Council.

4 Responses to Does LASIK Last Forever?

  • Jennifer says:

    But Lasik only worked for eight years for me then I started needing glasses for nearsightedness again can you tell me why is that? I am 40 now and my doctor told me I need reading glasses which I can read fine without them I just take them off and on. The problem was my new eye doctor told me that and I thought they had transferred my records but they didn’t. I automatically thought they did that.

    • Hi, Jennifer. While it is true that LASIK is a permanent treatment for the existing vision prescription at the time of surgery, our eyes – like other parts of our body – change over time. Your need for reading glasses is likely due to an age-related condition called presbyopia that everyone develops, usually beginning in their 40s. This happens to all of us in time, even those who have had LASIK previously. If you need any records transferred to or from Dr. Solomon’s office, we’d be happy to help you with that–just give us a call at 843-881-3937 so we can get the necessary information. You can also call us with any additional questions about your vision!

  • Amelia says:

    I had lasik surgery about 20 years ago. It was fantastic. Now, I can hardly see at all. It is awful. It is my long distance vision that is suffering. I don’t need readers, I can see perfectly fine. Without having to come in for a consultation, what are your opinions? My business is slow, interior Design, so I don’t have a lot of extra money. Everyone is buying off the internet which is killing me. So I am just trying to get some ideas about what is happening to my eyes, and what it would cost to fix them. I hate glasses and contacts. If I have to get glasses temporarily for driving, etc. I know that is a solution. But, if I can save the $$ for an eye exam and the glasses, I would happily put it towards lasik. Do you want to trade interior Design Services for lasik? I can send my portfolio. I have been in the luxury industry for 25 years, so I am no hack. I take my profession seriously, as I hope that you do too. I don’t want my eyes to be damaged. 😎

    • Hi, Amelia. 20 years after your initial LASIK, it could be that a touch-up is needed, or that cataracts or another medical condition are to blame for your decrease in vision. The only way to know for sure what is causing the change in your vision is to see you for an exam. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept any kind of trade for medical services, but we would be happy to discuss insurance and payment options, as well as schedule you for an appointment. Please call us at 843-881-3937 if you’d like to discuss further.

Leave a Reply

Fields marked with * are required.

Back to Top

Kerry Solomon, MD

Most experienced LASIK &
Laser Cataract Surgeon in SC

A leader in ophthalmic research and education, Dr. Solomon is often
the first in the state to have access to new technology, which he
uses to achieve optimal results for his patients.

Meet Dr. Solomon
]