Imagine being able to see the world around you with your own naked eyes and without needing a pair of reading glasses or contact lenses.
This is what LASIK surgery, a form of laser eye surgery, can give you.
LASIK is typically permanent for short-sight and astigmatism treatments, but natural ageing can change the effects of the surgery over time.
So, can you get LASIK twice?
The short answer is that yes, you can. But there are several factors involved.
What Is LASIK Eye Surgery?
LASIK surgery (also known as laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is the most popular type of laser eye surgery in the world.
In fact, more than 85 per cent of laser eye surgery patients in Europe and the US choose LASIK surgery over other procedures.
During the procedure, the surgeon uses a femtosecond laser to create a thin, circular flap in the uppermost layer of the patient’s corneal tissue.
The shape of the cornea is then changed by the ultraviolet high-precision laser, which evaporates microscopic amounts of tissue and creates clear vision by fixing refractive errors and correctly focusing the light onto the retina.
As well as being able to correct both long and short-sightedness, LASIK surgery can also smooth the shape of the cornea in patients with astigmatism.
After the cornea has been reshaped, the corneal flap is folded back into position and the surface skin cells will have sealed the edge of the flap in as little as 4 hours.
LASIK has an extremely high success rate, and according to a review by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), 90% of patients come within one dioptre (a unit of focus measurement for a refractive lens) of perfect vision.
What Causes Vision Changes After LASIK Surgery?
The LASIK procedure is highly successful for most patients and side effects such as minor visual disturbances, blurred vision and light sensitivity can be normal in the several days or weeks after your surgery.
If these symptoms persist for three months or longer, it may be a sign that there is still some residual prescription, so you might be eligible for a second treatment. This is often called LASIK enhancement surgery.
There are multiple factors that may affect the success of LASIK surgery, including:
- The health of your corneas.
- The type of visual condition you had (e.g. myopia).
- The strength of your prescription (this indicates the severity of refractive errors).
- How successfully you heal (some patients may under-heal while others might over-heal. An abnormal healing response usually requires a secondary surgery).
There are also certain conditions which can lead to vision changes later in life.
Hormones from pregnancy and breastfeeding can affect vision, which could increase the chances of needing a secondary treatment or enhancement procedure.
Most women tend to become more short-sighted but some may experience farsightedness.
Luckily, these changes are usually temporary and once you’re no longer pregnant and/or lactating, your vision should revert to normal.
Natural Ageing Processes
There’s a condition called presbyopia and it’s something all eyes will eventually suffer from.
None of us can avoid it, regardless of whether we were born short-sighted, long-sighted or with perfect vision.
Presbyopia makes it harder for you to see things close up but you can still see things that are far away (unless you already needed glasses for far vision).
However, it’s not the same as hyperopia (farsightedness). Hyperopia is when the cornea is misshapen or the eyeball is too short so light rays don’t focus properly. This results in blurry near vision.
Presbyopia is caused by the eye’s lenses losing their elasticity so light can’t be focused properly.
What’s the Likelihood of Needing a Second LASIK Procedure?
The chance of needing laser vision correction twice depends on the individual and their specific conditions. Many people experience very slight vision changes which aren’t noticeable at all and don’t require the use of glasses.
Or, the vision changes are completely natural and expected to happen as you age, e.g blurred reading vision in mid-life, so most people choose to rely on reading glasses or contact lenses rather than have further treatment.
However, it is possible to have a follow-up treatment if your initial surgery resulted in an unsatisfactory outcome or you experience significant vision changes later in life. But first, your surgeon will need to assess your specific conditions.
They need to examine how much corneal tissue is in the eye. It needs to be thick enough for retreatment. If there is enough tissue, there are other health requirements which also need to be met, for example, not having dry eyes.
Your eye surgeon will be able to advise you further on this and what treatment is suitable for your condition.
How Many Times Can I Have LASIK Surgery?
This depends on the individual so there is no set number, although it would be unusual to have more than three laser eye surgery treatments.
The amount of times you’re allowed to safely have LASIK surgery depends on the thickness of your cornea.
Every time the surgery is performed, your cornea becomes thinner so eventually, you’ll run out of cornea to work with (not good!).
In addition, the amount that can be safely removed varies from eye to eye. Your surgeon will be able to determine this for you.
However, if you keep needing corrective surgery because your eyesight keeps deteriorating significantly over short periods of time, there may be other underlying vision problems.
An experienced LASIK surgeon can examine your eye and evaluate your condition.
Make Sure You Choose an Experienced LASIK Surgeon
Laser eye surgery has a very high success rate and many people enjoy their corrected vision for decades afterwards. However, it’s important that you choose a qualified and experienced LASIK surgeon.
Serious long-term complications are rare but there have been cases of people experiencing issues such as dry eyes and starbursts. That’s why you need to choose the right surgeon and clinic for your vision correction.
At Focus Clinic, we have an unbeaten 9.9 out of 10 rating from almost 900 reviews and are ranked #1 on Trustpilot. This is why we’re the UK’s most trusted laser eye surgery centre and the only clinic in the country with a 100% success rate.
Our two surgeons are world-renowned specialists with over 45 years of experience in ophthalmology and have performed more than 35,000 eye surgeries between them. This is supported by our excellent reviews.
We also offer a comprehensive aftercare package to ensure that you’re in good hands after your surgery. Unlike most clinics which only offer a one-year guarantee, Focus Clinic offers a unique 10-year guarantee where any follow-up treatments will be on us.
It’s unlikely you’ll need eye surgery twice as less than one in 500 of our patients need repeat surgery after the initial 12-month period, but this guarantee is nice to have – just in case.
If you’re interested in laser eye surgery with Focus Clinic or just want to know more about the procedure in general, get in touch to arrange a free LASIK consultation to discuss your suitability.