Does LASIK Last Forever?

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

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

LASIK eye surgery 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 or as you continue to age.

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.

13 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.

  • Vatche Souvalian says:

    I had LASIK surgery done three years ago when I was 41. My vision was hovering around -2.0 for many years. Five months into it the right eye needed a touch up. Three years into my initial surgery I had to go back and right eye now reads -1.0 and left eye is -1.5. There are no medical conditions (such as such as presbyopia and cataracts). The doctor who performed the initial procedure looked at my eyes and when I asked why we didn’t have a good success with the surgery he said he doesn’t know(those were his words).

    • Blair Cadden says:

      Hello Vatche,
      We’re sorry to hear you’ve been having some difficulties after your LASIK procedure. If you would ever like to get a second opinion, we’d be happy to set up an appointment for you to come see us. To schedule, just give us a call at 843-881-3937. Best wishes!

  • Ron Villa says:

    I had lasik about15 years ago. My vision is beginning to blur at long distance and night. How do I know if I am eligible for a enhancement and how much is the enhancement?

    • Blair Cadden says:

      Hi Ron,
      The only way to know if a LASIK enhancement will correct your current vision problems, or if there is another issue contributing to that blurred vision is to come in for an exam. If you would like to schedule, please give us a call at 843-881-3937.

  • RL says:

    I was 23 when I had Lasik and 4 years later I was back in glasses. Nobody can tell me why my vision has regressed almost back to my original prescription. I had a stable perscription prior to surgery and no other issues. What is happening?

    • Brooke Elias says:

      Rich, Thank you for reaching out. As people age, their vision can start to change. Some patients are eligible for LASIK enhancements or other procedures that may help correct the vision problems you are having. With that being said, the best way to find out more about your vision and if there is an option for you would be to see an optometrist. If you do not have an optometrist you currently see, please give us a call and schedule with ours, Dr. Hood. He will be able to discuss this further with you.

    • Brooke Elias says:

      Tammy, it is hard to say confidently if LASIK would be an option for you or not, every individual is different. Though age can be a factor, there are other things, like your eye health, your vision goals, etc., when it comes to having refractive surgery. The best way to find out if you are a LASIK candidate would be to schedule a complimentary consultation. In that appointment you would have testing to find out if you are a LASIK candidate. If you are interested in scheduling a LASIK consultation or if you have additional information, please give our LASIK office a call at 843-732-2020. Thank you for inquiring!

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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.

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1101 Clarity Road
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
TEL: (843) 881-3937
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Fri: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

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West Ashley

2060 Charlie Hall Blvd #201
Charleston, SC 29414
TEL: (843) 881-3937
FAX: 843-375-1487
Mon - Thurs: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Fri: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

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Our renowned ophthalmologist serves Charleston, and the entire state of South Carolina. Dr. Kerry Solomon's ophthalmology practice is located in Mt. Pleasant, with an additional location in West Ashley. Our practice specializes in refractive lens exchange, PRK, LASIK, laser cataract surgery with multifocal IOLs and toric lenses, and other eye surgery procedures. Dr. Solomon's patients come to Charleston from areas such as Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Beaufort, Hilton Head, Goose Creek, Johns Island, and Kiawah Island, SC; Asheville, NC; and Savannah, GA.