Laser Vision Correction Enhancements
I am frequently asked the question, “How long does Lasik last?” Fortunately, for the great majority of people the answer is that they will enjoy their results for many years. However, approximately five to 30 percent of patients may require a second procedure following laser vision correction. There are many reasons for this. Patients who are far-sighted or who are very near-sighted have a higher rate of regression of effect from laser vision correction. Enhancements are also more likely to be needed in patients who have a high degree of astigmatism.
An enhancement is typically done anywhere from three months to many years after the initial procedure. The enhancement procedure is very similar to the original laser procedure. Lasik enhancements are performed with special instruments used to lift the flap created with the original laser surgery and using the laser to reshape the cornea under the flap. If the flap was created many years ago, it may be best in some cases to make a new flap. PRK enhancement is identical to the original procedure.
Another important question that is commonly asked is “What if my vision changes later? Will I be able to have more treatment?” The answer to this question is usually yes, but depends upon what type of enhancement is needed and what the current shape of the cornea is. For instance, if a person was extremely near-sighted originally, the cornea may too flat to undergo further flattening without compromising the quality of vision. The cornea may also be too thin for further Lasik. In this case it is usually possible to do a PRK enhancement on top of the Lasik flap which will not compromise the strength of the cornea.
People who underwent radial keratotomy years ago commonly experience a progressive effect of the surgery over the years which results in a decline in both far and near vision. Although laser vision correction works well in this situation, the radial keratotomy incisions are still present. Because of this, fluctuations in vision from morning to evening can still occur and they may need another enhancement years down the road as the eyes continue to change as a result of radial keratotomy. This should not be viewed as a failure of the laser procedure because the cornea itself is inherently unstable as a result of radial keratotomy. Laser vision correction is a safe and effective treatment for post-RK hyperopia, but may need to be repeated several years later.
If you have had radial keratotomy or laser vision correction in the past and feel like you are not seeing the way you used to see, please call 661-259-3937 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Helm or send a query to email@example.com.
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