For many people, treatment for refractive error—whether with corrective lenses or surgery—helps them to see clearly for much of their lives. However, the shape of the eyes often changes as people age. For this reason, a diagnosis of refractive error may change over time, too. Many people older than age 40, for instance, start to experience presbyopia, a type of refractive error that makes it more difficult to read or see objects close up.
Sometimes, the effect of corrective surgery is not permanent, and refractive error returns. Usually this occurs years after surgery, but there is no reliable way to predict when this may happen.
For all of these reasons, NYU Langone eye doctors schedule regular follow-up visits to monitor any changes in the shape of your eyes. They can adjust a prescription or determine a new prescription for glasses or contacts, as needed.
For children with refractive error, the Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care provides resources for children and their families throughout diagnosis and treatment. These include child life services, social work, and other health and support services.
Eye exams are important for people who are first diagnosed with a refractive error as well as for people who have been treated for a refractive error for years. If you notice that your vision has become increasingly blurry, even when you’re wearing corrective lenses, this could be a sign that your vision has changed. Our doctors recommend scheduling an eye exam.
The eye doctor can examine your eyes to determine if a refractive error has worsened, or if a different type of refractive error has developed. Some people who are nearsighted, for instance, ultimately develop presbyopia, too.
NYU Langone ophthalmologists may recommend routine eye exams throughout your life, so that they can monitor any changes in your vision. Your doctor can ensure that you have the correct prescription and that your glasses and contact lenses fit your eyes correctly. He or she may also recommend surgery, if appropriate.
Wearing ill-fitting contacts or eyeglasses with an out-of-date prescription can cause eyestrain, which may lead to headaches or eye fatigue. Most eye doctors or optical shops require a current prescription—meaning one dated less than a year ago—in order to fulfill a request for new glasses or contact lenses. Your eye doctor performs an eye exam every time you need new corrective lenses, which is often on an annual basis.
Occasionally, corrective eye surgery may not fully correct refractive error. There is no way to predict if this may happen.
Most of the time, doctors can determine within three to six months of surgery if an improvement in eyesight is unlikely to occur. If blurriness persists at that time, your surgeon may consider a second laser procedure to further reshape the cornea.
Your doctor discusses your options and prognosis before recommending revision surgery. If an additional procedure is appropriate, it usually takes just minutes to complete.
The corrective effects of eye surgery typically last years or decades. However, because your eyes change shape over time, vision changes may occur. Your surgeon may discuss the possibility of a second laser surgery depending on factors including your age, the type of refractive error, and whether you have any other eye conditions.
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