How Long Does Laser Eye Surgery Last?

Is It Permanent?

The results of laser eye surgery should last a lifetime as the cornea is an extremely stable tissue. Only a very small number of patients have had regression to the eye which has required further laser treatment. It is important to think about the best time to have laser eye surgery. Although laser eye surgery is permanent, it is possible your eyes may change over time. The condition of the eye may change for people under the age of eighteen, so laser eye surgery is not recommended. Some clinics will only treat patients if they are over the age of 21. The condition of the eye may also change during pregnancy, therefore surgery is not recommended for women who are pregnant.

Laser eye surgery patient playing tennis

Effectiveness Of Laser Eye Treatment

The success rate for laser eye surgery is high with 9 out of 10 patients experiencing improved vision following laser eye treatments. Patients should do their homework before committing to surgery and should research their clinic and surgeon thoroughly beforehand. Your surgeon should offer a clear understanding of the potential risks involved in surgery and talk you through the various options available. LASIK, LASEK and PRK laser eye procedures vary in complexity and technique and success rates vary as a result.

It is important to remember that a successful outcome is not the same as having "perfect" vision, which may be difficult to impossible to achieve even with surgery. Remember that it can take a month or longer after surgery for an eye to reach its full post-treatment capacity.

The degree of imperfection in the eyes before surgery, particularly with myopia, will affect both the likelihood of the surgery being a success and the likelihood of achieving "perfect" vision.

Surgery is also considerably more likely to be effective if the surgeon works from a stable and accurate prescription. Before getting surgery, talk to your optician to discover how much your prescription fluctuates over time. Make sure your surgeon is aware of this fluctuation to increase the accuracy of the prescription used to determine the laser treatment.

In a few cases, treatment is neither likely to be effective, nor likely to have the usual permanent effects. This includes:

  • people with thin corneas
  • people with extremely high prescriptions for myopia or hyperopia
  • teenagers, whose eyes may still be changing shape.
In these cases, surgeons may instead recommend IOL (intraocular lens) treatment, which involves implanting the equivalent of a permanent contact lens.

How Does Laser Eye Surgery Work?

How does laser eye surgery work and how can it improve my vision?

How Long Does The Procedure Last?

The procedure will last approximately 30 seconds for each eye. The patient will usually be in surgery for about 30 - 35 minutes, which will cover preparation time, briefing by the surgeon, etc. The eye is covered by a patch for the next 24 hours to protect it. Vision may be blurred for a few days following surgery. Most patients find they are well enough to return to work within a week of surgery.

Djalenga Talks Us Through Her Laser Eye Surgery Procedure

Laser eye surgery patient Djalenga talks us through her LASEK laser eye surgery procedure, what sensations she experienced and how long the whole procedure took.

Can You Have Laser Eye Surgery More Than Once?

In many cases you can have laser retreatment: it depends on the causes of your new vision problems.

  • If the shape of your eye has changed since the surgery, causing fresh symptoms of myopia or hyperopia, laser retreatment can be effective.
  • If the problem is instead presbyopia, laser surgery will not work.
  • The main barrier to laser retreatment is the thickness of your cornea. In many cases, laser retreatment will work fine. In a few cases, it's possible that your cornea was only just thick enough to make the original laser surgery suitable and that a retreatment will not be viable.