Glasses After LASIK?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, June 13, 2021

Around 10 million Americans have undergone LASIK since it was approved by the FDA in 1999.

The whole point of LASIK surgery is to remove the need for glasses, but now you’re being told you may still need them?

LASIK surgery permanently corrects vision problems like myopia (nearsightedness), usually eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses immediately after the procedure.

What many don’t realize is that LASIK surgery doesn’t protect against age-related eye conditions or remove certain refractive errors caused by the thickness of the cornea.

For this reason, even individuals who have had successful LASIK surgery may need glasses.

Make an appointment with an eye doctor near you to discuss if LASIK surgery is good for you and your eyes.


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What is LASIK?

LASIK is a laser eye surgery that corrects vision in people who are farsighted or nearsighted, or who have astigmatism.

LASIK can correct three refractive errors:

  1. Nearsightedness (myopia) – vision is blurred when looking at something far away but sharp when close.
  2. Farsightedness (hyperopia) -vision is blurred for objects that are close, but clear when objects are far away.
  3. Astigmatism – caused by a non-spherical shape in front of your eye.

Why might I need glasses after LASIK?

While LASIK surgery corrects refractive errors, there are issues that arise during or after the surgery that may be the cause of you needing glasses after LASIK.

1. Presbyopia

Presbyopia — age-related farsightedness that typically begins at age 40-50 — is a natural part of growing older. It’s a condition where the interior lens thickens and loses elasticity. Less elasticity makes it more difficult for the lens to focus light on the retina, so the point of focus falls behind the retina. This makes close-up objects appear blurred.

While LASIK surgery corrects myopia and hyperopia, it usually is not used to correct presbyopia.

If you are nearsighted, LASIK may cause you to lose some of your ability to see close up earlier than usual. Similarly, if your vision is fully corrected for distance, you are more likely to need reading glasses once presbyopia develops.

2. Residual astigmatism

Residual astigmatism is astigmatism that remains even after the refractive surgery. This occurs as the cornea heals to an unexpected shape.

During LASIK a refractive error is corrected on the anterior corneal surface. If you have a high amount of astigmatism, for example, -3.00 or higher. The surgeon expects the cornea to heal in a certain shape, but might be surprised by the corneal shape ending up being different to what they expected. This will leave a patient with some astigmatism, which is not ideal.

3. Uncorrected myopia

Myopia occurs when the cornea is too curved or the eyeball is too long, causing the cornea to focus the light entering the eye just before the retina. This causes distant objects to appear blurred, while objects nearby appear normal.

During LASIK surgery, sometimes the surgeon may only be able to reduce the myopia but not eliminate it entirely. This outcome could be due to the cornea not being thick enough or during the surgery a surgeon may discover that the cornea is thinner than expected, and be unable to remove as much corneal tissue as previously planned.

This can leave a patient with some degree of myopia after surgery.

Benefits of LASIK surgery

While you may need glasses after LASIK, there are many benefits to having LASIK, including:

  • Convenience
  • Improved vision
  • Long-lasting results
  • Quick results and recovery

LEARN MORE:  Optical and Contact Lenses

Consult with an eye doctor near you to find out if LASIK surgery is right for you, so that you can enjoy a full range of sharp vision.