LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a type of surgery used to correct vision problems and reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses. If you seek re-treatment after you’ve already undergone LASIK, this is called an enhancement surgery.
What Is LASIK Enhancement Surgery?
"If further correction or enhancement is necessary, you should wait until your eye measurements are consistent for two consecutive visits at least 3 months apart before re-operation,” according to FDA guidelines. You may be considering an enhancement procedure if:
- Your surgeon did not remove enough tissue during your first procedure—this is known as undercorrection.
- Your vision has changed over time, which can naturally occur as we age.
What Happens During LASIK Enhancement?
Enhancement procedures are very similar to LASIK, from the preoperative exams to recovery.
Before surgery, your doctor will review your overall health, examine your eyes, and take measurements. Cornea thickness is a significant factor in determining whether you’re a good candidate for enhancement surgery. The doctor removes corneal tissue each time LASIK is performed, so if your cornea is too thin, it is not safe to operate again.
During surgery, your doctor will use eye drops to numb the eye, and lift the existing corneal flap that was made during your first procedure. You will then look at a target light while a laser reshapes the cornea based on your eye measurements.
After surgery, rest and recovery time is similar to LASIK, and you may experience similar side effects. You may notice improved vision within days, but vision may not stabilize for several months. It’s important to follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions to reduce your risk of infection and other complications.
Is LASIK Enhancement Safe?
Just like LASIK, enhancement surgeries can result in complications and side effects, so it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Because LASIK is a relatively new procedure, long-term data on enhancements is limited. “No laser company has presented enough evidence for the FDA to make conclusions about the safety or effectiveness of enhancement surgery,” according to the FDA.