Corrective Lenses After Refractive Surgery

Even with the best techniques, a specific visual result (for example, 20/20 or 20/40) can never be guaranteed. However, most people with low to moderate nearsightedness and astigmatism can achieve excellent results after refractive surgery. In many studies, more than 94 percent of patients with low to moderate nearsightedness will achieve 20/40 or better uncorrected vision after refractive surgery. With 20/40 or better vision you would be able to pass the driving vision test without wearing corrective lenses in most states. For most people, this level of vision would be adequate for the majority of their everyday activities. However, for special situations (such as night driving) in which the sharpest vision is desirable, you may still want or need to wear glasses or contact lenses with a mild correction. Also, if you are 40 or older, you may still require glasses for reading.

In fact, presbyopia, the normal aging of the eye that often results in the need for bifocals or reading glasses, is common. If you are nearsighted before refractive surgery, you may still need reading glasses after refractive surgery as you approach the age of presbyopia — usually 40 to 45 years of age.

If you are nearsighted and have not had refractive surgery, you may not need reading glasses when you approach the age of presbyopia. In many cases, you would simply remove your glasses and be able to read. However, following refractive surgery, you may need reading glasses once you reach age 40 to 45. Discuss the need for reading glasses following refractive surgery with your provider.