LASIK has been in use since the mid-1990s to correct a person’s vision, but many questions about the long-term effects of the procedure still come to mind for past and potential patients. But those who undergo the procedure can rest easy as studies have shown that LASIK has little negative effect and in fact, is now safer and more beneficial than ever.
In a 2008 study, Spanish researches followed up with 70 patients of LASIK for 10 years and found that the participants had healthy corneas and their vision had remained accurate.
LASIK is a surgical procedure that uses a laser to change the shape of the cornea to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, which are both caused by distortions in the cornea.
During the LASIK procedure, a flap is created in the cornea so that a computer-controlled excimer laser can then vaporize a portion of the stroma – located in the middle of the cornea. The flap is then closed, correcting the curvature of the cornea, and therefore improving vision.
In the mid1990s, eye surgeons used a surgical blade to create the cornea flap, but now, most ophthalmic surgeons use a femtosecond laser during the procedure. The laser separates tissues by creating a layer of bubbles and then making an incision to create the flap. If surgery is disrupted for any reason, the air bubbles dissolve and no tissue is removed, unlike with a blade.
Preoperative testing has also become more thorough to ensure that the procedure is right for the patient. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), people who have experienced vision changes in the past year, have a disease or disorder that may affect wound healing, or actively participate in contact sports may be at risk for complications from LASIK.
With natural aging processes, it’s possible that a patient may need touch-up LASIK to fine tune their vision in the future or may need to utilize reading glasses later in life.
“Aging changes occurs within 100 percent of the population,” Dr. Kerry Solomon, director of the Carolina Eyecare Research Institute in Charleston, SC, told FoxNews.com. “…Occasionally things will change in [eye] shape and size.”
Those changes in the eye include cataracts, the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. LASIK doesn’t increase or decrease the incidence of cataracts as the surgery affects only the cornea, not the lens of the eye.
Long-term safety of LASIK has been good and continues to improve with the advancement of technology.