Is Laser Eye Surgery Permanent?
For many, the outcome of laser eye surgery is permanent with the success rate of the procedure being very high. Around 98% of patients report being very happy with the results and experience vastly improved eyesight for years after surgery. For the remaining 2% of people however, the surgery isn’t so successful and these patients sometimes require laser eye surgery a second time. This is referred to as laser eye surgery enhancement or laser eye surgery touch-up.
Here Mr Ali Mearza, Clinical Direct of Ophthalmology and lead consultant ophthalmic surgeon at London’s Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, discusses if you can have laser eye surgery twice.
Why Would I Need To Repeat Laser Eye Surgery?
Secondary surgery can be performed soon after your initial surgery if the outcome is unsatisfactory, or later in life if there have been significant changes to your vision over time. In the six months following surgery, your ophthalmologist will perform check-ups on your eyesight frequently in order to monitor your recovery and decide if a secondary treatment is appropriate for you.
Soon After Initial Surgery
Side effects such as blurred vision and sensitivity to light are normal several weeks following laser eye surgery. If these symptoms persist for up to three months however, this can mean that your original surgery hasn’t been completely effective and so you might be eligible for a second surgery.
There are several factors that can affect the success of laser eye surgery, including:
- The health of your corneas
- The type of visual condition you have, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness)
- The severity of your refractive error and the strength of your prescription
- The success of the healing process, with some patients under- or over-healing
In general, people who have moderate to severe hyperopia and experience an abnormal healing response most commonly need secondary surgery.
Later In Life
The natural ageing process of the eye can mean that over time your vision can significantly change. As you get older, the muscles that control your eyes begin to weaken, meaning conditions such as myopia can return. If you experience a regression in your prescription and find that you’re having to rely more and more on glasses or contact lenses to see clearly some years after surgery, you may require a second round of laser eye surgery. A surgeon will be able to advise you on the appropriate course of action.
What Is Laser Eye Surgery Enhancement?
The procedure for laser eye surgery enhancement is very similar to that of laser eye surgery, but a corneal flap is not created using lasers as is done during a primary laser eye procedure. Instead, the surgeon uses specialised tools to lift the flap on the surface of the eye that was previously created. This is a painless procedure that should only take a couple of minutes.
The cornea is then reshaped using a laser. During an enhancement, minimal reshaping of the cornea is needed meaning the procedure will only take a few seconds.
Following the treatment, you will be given the same post-operative aftercare as you received after your initial laser eye surgery. Be sure to adhere to your ophthalmologist’s instructions in order to ensure the best possible recovery.
Am I Eligible?
Not everyone who has undergone laser eye surgery will be eligible for enhancement. There are several requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for the procedure, including having:
- Thick corneas: every time you undergo laser eye surgery, a small amount of corneal tissue is removed from your eye. This tissue does not grow back, meaning that if too much was removed during your initial surgery, you will not be eligible to undergo a secondary treatment and instead will need to use glasses to correct your vision. Your surgeon will assess the thickness of your corneas to determine if there is enough to work with for enhancement surgery.
- Good overall health: as with laser eye surgery you will need to be in good overall health to undertake laser eye enhancement. This includes having no eye infections or retinal disease, not suffering from an autoimmune disease and not taking any immunosuppressant drugs.
- Blurred vision: if your vision is still noticeably blurred three months after your initial surgery and you cannot see clearly without glasses.
How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Enhancement Cost?
If laser eye surgery enhancement is performed within a year of your initial surgery, then it tends to be done free of charge if you return to the same surgeon. If the enhancement is performed after this time then you will need to pay.
To give you an idea of how much you could expect to pay for enhancement surgery, the table below compares the price per eye of the most common types of laser eye surgery. The prices are based on quotes from the UK’s leading eye surgery clinics.
|Type Of Laser Eye Surgery||Price Per Eye|
|Wavefront Technology||From £1495|
You should consult with your ophthalmologist regarding policies and fees for laser enhancement procedures, and the aftercare that will be needed if you have a second surgery.
Many of the UK’s leading clinics also offer finance options with 0% APR that will help you to spread the cost of your laser eye surgery. You can visit our laser eye surgery cost page to find out more information.