Updated on 

May 6, 2022

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How Many Times Can You Get LASIK?

Key Takeaways

  • You can get LASIK more than once (but because of its risks, you should never get it more than three times)
  • Most people with LASIK remain happy with the results, even 10 years later
  • The average price of LASIK is around $4,200 for both eyes
  • LASIK enhancement has both benefits and risks
  • The risks of LASIK enhancement include various vision problems like severe dry eye and astigmatism

How Many Times Can You Get LASIK?

LASIK is short for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. It’s a minor surgical procedure that improves vision. The procedure permanently reshapes the tissue in the front of the eye. 

Vision problems LASIK can correct include:

  • Nearsightedness (myopia). This is when you can see close up objects clearly. Far-away objects appear blurry.
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia). This is when you can see far-away objects clearly. Close up objects appear blurry.
  • Astigmatism. Blurry vision occurs from an imperfection in the shape of the front of your eye.

LASIK corrects these eye conditions by reshaping your cornea with lasers. Once complete, light bends correctly and focuses on your retina.

As a result, you have clear, sharp vision close up and far away. The goal is to correct your vision completely so you don’t need to wear glasses or contacts.

Although LASIK is effective, it’s common for vision to worsen over time as part of the natural aging process. LASIK can’t prevent this, so your vision may become blurry again as you get older.

Your age at the time of LASIK treatment can impact how long the results last. If you have any other progressive eye conditions, your vision might also be affected.

You can get LASIK more than once. But undergoing more than three LASIK procedures can be harmful to your health and cause severe vision problems. Each time you undergo LASIK, the surgeon removes corneal tissue. If your corneas are too thin after the first procedure, you may not be able to have a second LASIK surgery.

Thinking about LASIK? Start a conversation with an experienced Patient Counselor to find out if laser eye surgery is right for you. Learn More

How Common are Vision Changes After LASIK?

If your eyesight becomes blurry following your first LASIK procedure, you may be able to get it again. This depends on how your doctor extracted the tissue during the first procedure and how much they left behind.

Keep in mind: The majority of people who have LASIK remain happy with their vision, even after 10 years. 

However, there are a few reasons why your vision might change after LASIK:

  1. If the original condition that affected your eyesight continues to progress.1 
  2. A natural condition called presbyopia, which can develop as you age. Your lens becomes less flexible, and you can't focus on nearby objects.

One study discovered that 35 percent of people who had LASIK needed retreatment within 10 years.2

Another study followed people with nearsightedness and/or astigmatism who had LASIK. After 12 years, they discovered around 10 percent of the participants experienced regression (vision changes) during that time.3

5 Reasons Why You Might Need a LASIK Enhancement

A 2007 study reported retreatment rates for LASIK procedures between 3 and 37.9 percent, depending on the literature.5

The main reasons why people undergo a LASIK enhancement include:

1. Patient and/or Surgeon Expectations

In some cases, people are content with a small amount of ongoing refractive problems if it doesn’t affect their daily tasks.

Healing time can take up to 2 or 3 months, so full vision correction may not occur for some time after the procedure. However, vision will be clearer in the days after the treatment. 

If someone expects perfect eyesight, they’re more likely to seek an enhancement.

2. Stable Refractive Error

If the ongoing vision issue doesn’t change after 3 months, it may be time to seek a LASIK enhancement. This is because the initial procedure didn’t fully correct the shape of the cornea.

3. Improper Refraction/Data Entered

The laser used for LASIK is pre-programmed with information to shape the cornea properly. If this is even slightly off, under or overcorrection can occur.

4. Flap Issues

During LASIK, the surgeon cuts a flap of tissue and moves it aside. Then they shape the cornea with a laser.

If the flap doesn’t heal properly or becomes dislocated, you won’t get optimal visual acuity. 

Retreatment may be more complicated in these cases but has been shown to help improve healing.

Cutting a new flap may be part of the treatment. This usually makes recovery longer, but is more likely to improve vision.

5. Other Healing Complications

Epithelial ingrowth or flap melting after LASIK requires retreatment. These complications may require the surgeon to re-lift the flap during a second procedure.

Questions about LASIK? Call NVISION to speak with an experienced Patient Counselor who can answer all your questions and set up a free consultation. No commitment required.

LASIK Surgeon Using Laser

LASIK Enhancement Procedure & Costs

You’ll be awake during the LASIK procedure. It isn’t painful but you may experience some tugging or pressure in your eye. You can also request a sedative medication to help you relax.

The basic steps of a LASIK procedure include the following:

1. Your doctor uses anesthetic eye drops to numb both eyes. An eyelid holder keeps your eyes open.

2. Your doctor creates a flap in the outer layer of your cornea using a small blade or laser. This is when you might experience some pressure and discomfort.

3. During a conventional bladed LASIK, the surgeon sets a device called a microkeratome on the eye. It consists of a ring fixed to a tiny blade. Suction from the ring lifts your cornea, and the blade cuts a flap.

4. A femtosecond laser sends energy pulses toward your cornea, gently lifting its outer layer with all-laser LASIK. It then creates a cut, which makes a flap.

5. Your doctor gently lifts the flap.

6. They reshape your cornea using an excimer laser. This laser removes tissue from your cornea. The amount taken is based on your eyeglass or contact prescription. Your doctor may also use a custom wavefront laser, which uses light waves to analyze your eyes. This produces a detailed map of your eye so the laser can remove tissue from your cornea. The amount of tissue taken is based on the map.

7. Your doctor moves the flap back in its original position. It heals naturally without stitches.

LASIK enhancement is similar to a primary LASIK procedure. There’s only one main difference. Instead of using a microkeratome or laser to make a corneal flap, the retreatment surgeon uses special tools to lift the flap that was created on your eye’s surface during the initial surgery.

Immediately after treatment, your eye may itch and burn. Your vision may be blurry at first, but it should become sharper by the following day. Your doctor may also prescribe eye drops to help your eye(s) heal and remain moist.

You’ll also receive an eye shield to cover and protect your eye(s). You should have a follow-up visit with your doctor a few days after treatment to ensure your vision is healing well and there aren’t any complications.

After LASIK, it typically takes 2 to 3 months for your eye(s) to heal and vision to stabilize.

For the first 3 weeks or so, you should avoid:

  • Wearing contacts or eye makeup
  • Contact sports
  • Hot tubs
  • Swimming

The average price of LASIK is around $4,200 in total. In some cases, the cost can be less.4

Often, this price includes pre-op evaluations and post-op follow-up exams, as well as the procedure.

Sometimes the price includes follow-up LASIK enhancement to further correct your vision. This is usually provided if your doctor didn’t remove enough tissue initially.

Because LASIK is considered an elective procedure, most insurance companies don’t cover its costs.

Benefits & Risks of LASIK Enhancements  

Lasik enhancement has pros and cons.

Pros:

  • A quick and familiar process
  • An improvement in vision that usually only takes a few days
  • Clearer vision without contacts or glasses, depending on the patient’s circumstances

Cons

  • A risk of a poorly healing flap from an infection or excessive tear production
  • The risk of an irregular healing pattern of your cornea underneath the flap, which can cause vision issues and discomfort
  • Astigmatism risk, where your eye can end up being an irregular shape because the tissue wasn’t removed evenly
  • Severe dry eye syndrome, which can cause discomfort and vision problems if your eyes can’t make enough tears
  • Long-term vision problems in dim light, leading to problems seeing at night or in dim light due to halos and glare
  • Too much or too little tissue can also be removed, resulting in less than perfect results due to over or under correction
  • While rare, loss or decreased vision can occur

Still not sure about LASIK? Talk with an experienced Patient Counselor at NVISION to find out if it's right for you.

Surgeon performing LASIK Procedure
6 Cited Research Articles
  1. Permanent or Temporary: How Long Does LASIK Last?, American Refractive Surgery Council, October 2021
  2. Takeshi Ide, Ikuko Toda, Teruki Fukumoto, Junichi Watanabe, Kazuo Tsubota, Outcome of a 10-year follow-up of laser in situ laser keratomileusis for myopia and myopic astigmatism, Taiwan Journal of Ophthalmology, Volume 4, Issue 4, 2014, Pages 156-162
  3. Ikeda, Tetsuya et al. “Twelve-Year Follow-Up of Laser In Situ Keratomileusis for Moderate to High Myopia.” BioMed research international vol. 2017 : 9391436
  4. The Price of LASIK Isn’t As Expensive As You Might Think, American Refractive Surgery Council, December 2021
  5. Ambrósio, Renato Jr et al. “Management of unsuccessful LASIK surgery.” Comprehensive ophthalmology update vol. 8,3 : 125-41; discussion 143-4
  6. Moshirfar M, Bennett P, Ronquillo Y. Laser In Situ Keratomileusis. [Updated 2021 Jul 31]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan
Melody Huang is an optometrist and freelance health writer. Through her writing, Dr. Huang enjoys educating patients on how to lead healthier and happier lives. She also has an interest in Eastern medicine practices and learning about integrative medicine. When she’s not working, Dr. Huang loves reviewing new skin care products, trying interesting food recipes, or hanging with her adopted cats.
Ellie is a full-time freelance writer, producing articles in various fields, including the medical industry. Ellie writes content in the areas of dentistry, addiction, mental health, and optometry. Her mission is to produce authoritative, helpful, and research-backed optometry content to encourage people to look after their eyesight and seek any treatment they need.
https://www.visioncenter.org/author/ellie/
Author: Ellie Swain  | UPDATED May 6, 2022
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Medical reviewer: Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

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