Time after a LASIK or PRK before you can have a second procedure?
By Andrew E Holzman, MD FACS on March 03, 2017
Despite having unparalleled accuracy and predictability, laser vision correction procedures carry with them an inherent risk that it may not be absolutely perfect the first time and/or that your vision can change down the road requiring more laser reshaping. We minimize these types of risks substantially through very thorough protocols ensuring (as best that we can) that the eyes are stable when we first proceed. We also obtain very accurate procedure results as we use the finest state of the art equipment and have vast experience and judgment. These methods help us to reduce our enhancement rate (the percentage of patients needing a second procedure), to less than 1% of our treatments! This is true for both PRK and LASIK. This means that 99% of our patients only need one treatment!
But what about the 1% who end up needing a “touch up”? These patients typically fall into one of three categories: they were farsighted to begin with (farsightedness much more commonly is a progressive issue compared to routine nearsightedness), they had a high prescription and possibly a high astigmatism to begin with, or their eyes simply changed over time.
When the primary procedure was LASIK, we like to wait a minimum of 3 months and usually 6 months to ensure stability after the primary procedure. Sometimes stability comes sooner, and if the surgeon can verify that the eyes are stable it can be ok to do sooner in those circumstances.
When the primary procedure was PRK, we like to wait a minimum of 6 months, but usually it is longer, probably 9-12 months is best. That is because many eyes will change and adjust slower after PRK, and you want to make sure before a second procedure that the eyes have stopped changing.
It is important to note that the enhancement procedure is a quick procedure and most frequently results in an improved outcome. The treatments are typically small and more predictable than the primary procedure. It is imperative to make sure that the enhancement procedure stands to give the patient substantial benefit, as there is some risk that has to be weighed against it. It is always important the patients understand the inherent risks prior to any procedure, and that stands very true for enhancements of laser vision correction. One of the many benefits of TLC Laser Eye Centers program- there is a lifetime guarantee for enhancement procedures. This means that if you qualify for the enhancement, it makes sense for you, and you maintained your ocular health by annually visiting one of our affiliate Doctors, then you will not be charged for the additional procedure.