LASIK is a safe, effective surgical procedure that alters the cornea’s shape to help a person see more clearly. If you’re experiencing vision loss, you can turn to this procedure, and sometimes, a person may need it more than once.
There are different reasons a person may need another procedure done. In extreme cases of astigmatism or other visual impairments, the first LASIK procedure may undercurrent the error, creating the need for another. Another reason for a second surgery is aging. Your eyes change as you get older, which is inevitable.
Technically, there is no limit as to how many of these procedures you can get, but there are several factors that affect whether or not you can actually have the surgery more than once.
A second LASIK procedure is most often called secondary or enhancement surgery. Because LASIK is considered permanent, the enhancement surgery will be slightly different because it is simply thinning the already-altered cornea more.
The main factor in deterring if you can have LASIK again is the size and thickness of your cornea. During LASIK, specialized lasers are used to form a thin flap in the corneal tissue to correct the inner part of the cornea—changing its shape in order to correct refractive errors.
The shape of your cornea can cause you to be farsighted, nearsighted, or suffer from astigmatism. Second or more surgeries will need more corneal tissue to work with, and eventually, you won’t have enough. Each LASIK surgery makes the cornea thinner. If there isn’t enough corneal tissue, LASIK is not a viable option.
Other risks of a second procedure are epithelial ingrowth and corneal ectasia. Epithelial ingrowth is when extra cells collect under the flap and lead to visual complications and discomfort. Corneal ectasia is the bulging of the cornea after the surgery. Both of these risks are very rare.
If you have had the procedure done, be sure your eyes have reached a stable point before considering a second surgery.