15 Feb LASIK surgery vs contact lenses: which option is better for you?
Are you considering LASIK surgery? If you have been wearing contact lenses for a long time, then you may be considering this option. But what is better for you? There are a lot of conflicting opinions about the subject so I have put together the pros and cons of each so that you can decide what is best for you!
What are the pros and cons of wearing contact lenses?
Benefits of contact lenses
Contact lenses are preferred by many sight-impaired people to glasses as it allows people to engage in physical activity and sports, they may be more suitable for your working environment and unlike glasses, they do not fog up or become dirty. They also offer an aesthetic alternative if you do not like wearing glasses or feel they don’t suit you.
Disadvantages of contact lenses
The downside to contact lenses is that you cannot sleep in them, have to put them in/take them out at regular intervals dependant on what type of contact lens you wear and also the ongoing cost of having to buy them regularly.
There are some health implications of contact lenses as well, as they can be a gateway to infection for your eyes. Because the eye is a completely sterile environment, it can be very dangerous for bacteria to come into contact with the eye.
Luckily the eye has some safeguards to this, your eyelashes can help to provide a barrier to bacteria and your tears can wash away any that make it through your eyelashes. But because contact lenses sit directly onto your eye, if the lens comes into contact with any bacteria (i.e. putting them in with dirty hands, contaminated contact lens fluid or from being dropped on the floor and not cleaned thoroughly) then the bacteria will come into contact with your eye and can cause damage. This damage can result in corneal infection which can cause permanent scarring to the tissues of your eyes.
Another disadvantage of course is that they are not a permanent solution; you will have to keep wearing them if you want to have optimum vision.
What are the pros and cons of undergoing LASIK?
Benefits of LASIK
Laser surgery or LASIK is a permanent solution for your impaired vision. It can correct a wide range of vision impairments including myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness), presbyopia (age-related loss of focus) and astigmatism (multiple points of focus). Laser eye surgery was first invested in the late 1980’s and has been refined as a surgical procedure since its inception, so it is a safe and commonly-performed procedure. The main benefit of LASIK surgery is that it is a one-off procedure, and once completed you can enjoy perfect vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Disadvantages of LASIK
As with all surgeries, LASIK can come with complications. Like with contact lenses, after LASIK surgery, you can also be susceptible to corneal infection as you now have a compromised corneal surface as a result of the surgery. Unlike with contact lens wearing though, you are unlikely to be touching your eye, or be putting foreign objects (like contact lenses) in your eye. As long as you practice good hygiene, you should have a relatively low chance of being affected by it; the incidence of corneal infection per year after LASIK is about 4 cases per 10, 000 (.04%) according to a US study, compared to 12 cases per 10,000 (.12%) associated with daily wear lenses.
LASIK is normally only performed once in a lifetime and so the risk is only a once-off, while contact lenses run the risk of infection each time they put in their contact lenses.
Another downside to LASIK surgery is that in rare cases, patients will find the need to a second surgery to further enhance their vision, so with that comes an additional cost as well as another chance for infection.
If you are still having trouble deciding or would like to talk to someone about the pros and cons of LASIK surgery, then have a chat with one of our expert team to help make the right decision for you!
References and sources:
- Risk for microbial keratitis: Comparative meta-analysis of contact lens wearers and post-laser in situ keratomileusis patients
- Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery (JCRS) Vol 43 Page 67 January 2017
This article is not a substitute for a consultation with your surgeon. Before choosing to proceed with laser eye surgery your surgeon will have a detailed discussion with you about the right procedure and about the potential complications.
A unique mix of expertise, experience and international reputation, Dr Ron Binetter is the figure behind the Binetter Eye Centre. With more than two decades of hands-on experience in eye surgery, Dr Binetter is a specialist in cataract, lens implantation and laser eye surgery. Learn more about Dr Ron Binetter’s background and qualifications.