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How Many Times Can You Get LASIK?

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Generally, there is no cap or specific number of times a person can undergo LASIK surgery. The main factor in determining candidacy for LASIK enhancement and secondary surgeries is the size and thickness of the cornea.

Can You Get LASIK Multiple Times?

LASIK enjoys a success rate of 98 percent in achieving 20/20 vision, making it unlikely to need a repeat procedure. However, some people may need multiple procedures, also known as LASIK enhancement.

Repeat surgery can be performed after you’ve recovered from the first. You could also have another procedure years later.

Why Would You Get LASIK Twice?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that it takes about three to six months after a LASIK surgery for your eyes to reach a stable point. For this reason, you should wait at least that long before considering a LASIK enhancement surgery.

After that healing time, you might consider LASIK due to these reasons:

  • Strong corrections: A LASIK surgery may undercorrect the refractive error in the case of significant astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), or hyperopia (farsightedness).
  • Aging: As you get older, your eyes change. Your vision changes at a rate of about 1 percent each year, so after almost 10 years post-LASIK, your vision may be 10 percent different.
  • Age-related nearsightedness: Most people will suffer from “aging eyes” or presbyopia around age 45 or so, the National Eye Institute explains. This is a condition that will make it difficult to read things up close and often requires the use of reading glasses. This condition is not impacted by LASIK, but it is not corrected by the procedure either. If you have LASIK earlier than the development of presbyopia, you may consider an enhancement surgery called monovision to fix the new condition. 

It is important to understand what your expectations are before undergoing a LASIK enhancement. It is generally safe and effective, but it is another surgical procedure that will permanently alter your eyes.

An enhancement may not be ideal for everyone. Instead, you may wish to wear reading glasses or a light prescription to correct minor visual disturbances that can recur. Discuss your options with your ophthalmologist and surgeon to determine if you are a candidate for enhancement and if it is the right choice.

What Are the Risks?

Ophthalmologist doctor with the snellen chart

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved, and a small percentage of people can experience negative side effects or complications, such as visual disturbances (halos, glares, starbursts, poor night vision, and difficulties discerning contrast), dry eyes, and possible vision loss.

Most of these negative side effects clear up within a few weeks to months of undergoing a LASIK procedure. Of course, when you experience more than one LASIK surgery, the risks and rate of complications can also increase.

Potential complications include the following:

  • Too-thin corneas: Every LASIK surgery will make the cornea thinner. LASIK is not a viable or safe option if there is not enough tissue to work with. Your ophthalmologist will measure the thickness of your cornea to determine your eligibility.
  • Scarring: The Review of Ophthalmology warns that the risk for epithelial ingrowth and corneal ectasia are possible complications of a LASIK enhancement that involves lifting the corneal flap an additional time. During epithelial ingrowth, extra cells collect under the flap, leading to visual disturbances and discomfort.
  • Bulging: Corneal ectasia is a rare condition that can occur after LASIK, causing bulging of the cornea, often because the tissue is too thin. The risk for this condition can increase with LASIK enhancements, the American Academy of Ophthalmology warns.

    Accurate corneal tissue measurements are imperative to determine the safety and efficacy of a LASIK enhancement to minimize potential complications.
LASIK Eye Surgery
LASIK—short for Laser-Assisted-In-Situ Keratomileusis—is the most commonly performed laser eye procedure in the world. It’s one of the safest and most effective ways to correct vision, and NVISION® surgeons are leaders in the LASIK field. NVISION® Eye Centers offer Custom LASIK, a procedure more customized to your individual eyes.
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References

  1. How Many Times Can a Person Have LASIK Eye Surgery Safely? (May 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  2. Functional Outcome and Patient Satisfaction After Laser in Situ Keratomileusis for Correction of Myopia and Myopic Astigmatism. (January 2015). Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology.
  3. How to Approach LASIK Enhancements. (October 2014). Review of Ophthalmology.
  4. Ectasia After LASIK. (January 2008). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  5. What Should I Expect Before, During, and After Surgery? (July 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  6. The Basics of LASIK Eye Surgery. (August 2012). Federal Trade Commission.
  7. Presbyopia. (September 2020). National Eye Institute.

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