Do powers or numbers come back after LASIK surgery? How can we prevent this and what can be done if they do come back?
Let us say that you had LASIK surgery and achieved 6/6 or 20/20 vision, then many patients want to know how long does this result last? And are there any chances that their spectacle powers would regress?
LASIK surgery is a permanent treatment. What change it creates in the shape of the cornea is permanent.
However, the way you use your eyes is a dynamic process. Even if the LASIK was successful and you achieved 6/6 post procedure, to remain 20/20 there are certain basic guidelines that one must follow.
Remember that LASIK was done to achieve clear distant vision. If you end up doing a lot of near work, especially continuous hours of computer related work, then you stand the risk of again changing your distant prescription which is zero after LASIK and can shift by a small power of -0.50 D to -1.00 D if you end up straining your eyes for near work. Hence, in our centre at Shroff Eye, Dr Anand Shroff, our LASIK surgeon examines your eyes personally for a LASIK treatment and advises how you can avoid getting this regression, which may include specific steps of how to sit in front of a computer screen and use computer anti fatigue glasses specific to your viewing distance. This is taught to you post LASIK, at our centre.
However, other than the most common reason for shift of powers, which is computers, there are other factors which also play a role in eye health. Vision can deteriorate if any other event happens inside the eyes, example the start of a cataract or retinal issue or need for reading glasses (presbyopia) which is a natural aging process in the eyes. Although this is totally unrelated to LASIK, and would have happened with the same possibility when you use glasses or contact lenses, many link it to a LASIK done many years ago. This is not true. The start of any internal eye disease is not linked to your LASIK.
In women, it is also important to mention the use of hormones for treating acne or even infertility etc. In such times, hormones in very rare cases may also cause a shift in myopia.
In those with very high myopia or high astigmatism or cylindrical powers, we prepare them with the small possibility of needing a fine tuning or retreatment procedure, also called enhancement. This is usually done not before 3 months of the LASIK, giving enough time for the corneal healing to be complete. Also, this re treatment does not mean repeating all steps done the first time, but in most cases just needs specific instruments to lift the previously prepared flap and a very short laser application to remove the power. In those where the flap lifting is doubtful, a PRK procedure can be done as a surface treatment.
Therefore, it is important to choose a primary LASIK treatment with an advanced laser, such as what we use at Shroff Eye, the 500 Hz Wavelight laser that helps score over others as it has corneal tissue saving capacity. Hence it is possible to retreat whenever required.
In many cases, people who experience minor number changes after LASIK are not bothered by the small power and do not feel the need for wearing glasses, except for specific tasks like night driving, where it is used more for safety. Some choose to undergo a retreatment whenever possible, for example the rate of re treatment in our LASIK centre with Dr Anand Shroff is less than 0.4% of our cases and most often the fee is not charged again.