Improving Your LASIK Results with Additional Eye Surgery

Lasik Enhancement

Why an enhancement may be needed
While many patients will have 20/20 or better vision after their LASIK surgery, some will not. If you are not satisfied with the results of your surgery, your vision can probably be improved further with an additional surgery, often referred to by surgeons as an "enhancement." An enhancement may also be an option if you are experiencing certain correctable complications from your first surgery.

If you are not satisfied with the results of your LASIK surgery, be sure to discuss your options with your doctor during your follow-up exam, but keep in mind that your vision may fluctuate for several weeks as your eye recovers. You should wait three months for your vision to completely stabilize before deciding whether an enhancement is right for you. You may need to wear glasses or contacts during this adjustment period if you are uncomfortable performing certain tasks, such as driving.

LASIK enhancement carries the same risks as the initial surgery.

Are all LASIK patients eligible for an enhancement?
If your corneas are too thin following the initial LASIK surgery, you may not be eligible for a LASIK enhancement. Your doctor will re-evaluate your eyes, using the same methodology as before, to determine if you are a good candidate for the surgery. Even if you are ineligible for additional LASIK surgery, you may be still be able to get an enhancement using another technique, such as PRK.

LASIK enhancement is not only used after LASIK surgery. It can also be done to improve vision after other refractive surgeries such as PRK, phakic IOL implantation, and refractive lens exchange.

The enhancement procedure
The major difference between an initial LASIK procedure and a LASIK enhancement is that the surgeon will not need to create a corneal flap; he or she will only need to re-lift the flap that was previously created, using special tools. (Note: if you are having a LASIK enhancement after a flapless eye surgery, such as PRK, a flap will need to be created.) After lifting the flap, the surgeon will use a laser to reshape your cornea.

The enhancement surgery will typically take less time than the initial procedure, since only minor corrections need to be made.

How much will an enhancement cost?
Many surgeons do not charge an additional fee for enhancement, as long as it is performed within a certain period of time (typically one year). This is something you should ask about when you are choosing a surgeon.

Surgeons and enhancement rates
Studies show that the percentage of patients who will need an enhancement varies greatly based on several variables, such as age, refractive error, and corneal health.

A surgeon's enhancement rate is not indicative of their skill (or lack thereof). A surgeon with a low enhancement rate may have greater skill, or he may just be less concerned about patient satisfaction. Enhancement rates can also be related to other factors such as the surgeon's criteria when choosing surgical candidates, or fees associated with enhancements.

Did you have to get enhancements to your current Lasik surgery? Comment below.

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