Wearing Contacts Before LASIK?
- Asked by Eva S in Seattle, WA
- 4 years ago
I had a consult for Lasik surgery 5 or 6 years ago, and at the time I was told I couldn't wear my contacts during the 3 weeks before surgery, which was why I never went through with it. I can't stand to wear my glasses for more than a few hours. Has anything changed?
Contacts before LASIK
Unfortunately, the protocols are similar today. Even though the contact lenses are much better today they can still alter your corneal shape and thickness.
If measurements are taken when you have not been out of lenses for several weeks, this can lead to an inaccurate surgery. This is a risk that neither you nor the surgeon should take.
Wearing Contact Lenses Before LASIK
Nothing has changed. You should have your contact lenses out for two weeks before your LASIK consultation. Contacts work by changing the shape of your cornea, so your eyes need time to return to normal in order for your testing to be accurate. Some surgeons only require patients to be out of soft contact lenses for three days but this is a small minority.
Contacts Removed Before LASIK
Contact lenses always must come out before LASIK. Depending on the type of contact lenses you are wearing(hard vs soft vs toric) the time will vary. In my practice, regular soft lenses need to be out 10 days before surgery, toric lenses two weeks and gas permeable lenses must be out one month for every decade you have worn them, I know this sounds harsh, but getting your cornea back to its natural shape is vital to a good and accurate outcome. I often say that leaving your contacts out is the hardest part of the surgery!
Recent LASIK Reviews
You must give up contacts before LASIK
Contact lenses often cause what is called "spectacle blur." This means that the contacts make your glasses not exactly correct due to the swelling or distortion of the shape of your eye which can affect the readings doctors take of your eyeglass prescription.
The laser must be programmed with your correct prescription to achieve a good LASIK or PRK result. It takes some time for the cornea to return to normal. In the case of hard contact lenses this can be months, and with soft lenses it is weeks, but you will need to leave your contacts out as your doctor requests. There is no shortcut around this requirement except that sometimes soft lenses can be worn for a period of time in hard lens patients, and then the time is shortened to the soft lens out time.
To get the best results doctors need accurate data, and your contacts must be out long enough to attain these readings.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.