Lasik Q & A

Contact Lenses vs. LASIK

The Journal of Ophthalmology recently printed a study on LASIK surgery that had encouraging results for future LASIK patients. Furthermore, one of the main researchers for the study, a Dr. Gary Varley, even went as far as conjecturing that the prolonged use of contact lenses could pose a greater risk than the complications of LASIK surgery.

This is sobering news for people who have held off on LASIK because of their fear of the technology. The study results showed that the rate of all complications in LASIK patients, including vision loss, was no more than one in 10,000. A similar study done on the rate of complications in people regularly wearing contact lenses showed the risk to be as high as one in 2,000, or 5X more likely than complications in LASIK patients.

The LASIK Advantage

It might seem counter-intuitive that a surgical procedure could be safer than corrective equipment, but the study holds true. Dr. Varley expounded on the factors that contribute to the increased risk for lens wearers. Most of the factors involved hygiene or improper care. For example, many patients did not clean their hands thoroughly before putting their contacts in. Other patients fell asleep with their contacts in. Many lens wearers do not get the routine eye care that they need, and may be using prescriptions that have long since expired or are no longer accurate for their eyes. Some patients that had prescription lenses also had conditions that prevented them from using them as directed.

Other problems may stem from improper contact lens cleaning habits. When the lenses are not kept sterile, their wearers risk exposing their eyes to bacteria. Very few patients develop the same relationship with their eye doctor as they do with their medical doctor, and thus there is very little follow up between eye exams. Conversely, LASIK surgeons make it a regular practice to check up on former patients and ensure that the recovery is without complications.

If you are one of the many contact lens wearers that suffer from lax habits and imperfect usage, perhaps you should consider LASIK eye surgery. The cost will likely be significantly less than a lifetime’s supply of your prescription lenses. After the initial recovery period you will no longer have to worry about losing a contact, leaving one in, or following long care and storage rituals. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about a ragged lens cutting your eye or a dirty lens infecting it. You won’t have to pull the car to the side of the road when you drop a contact, or search frantically for your contact case before work. You can go to sleep with perfect vision at night and wake up with it again in the morning, no contacts or eyeglasses required!

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