LASIK vs Contact Lenses


Which is Better?  LASIK or Contact Lenses?
For many patients, the choice of vision correction comes down to LASIK or contact lenses.  Eyeglass correction may be undesirable, impractical or impossible.  But which is better?  For many, the determination is one of cost and/or safety.  Your assumptions about the superiority of LASIK vs contact lenses may be tested by the facts.  Today’s  prizefight is LASIK vs Contact Lenses.
Round 1: Safety
Over the years of providing LASIK consults I’ve learned that nothing draws a blank expression from a patient like making the statement “The risk of vision loss from LASIK eye surgery is less than the risk of vision loss from contact lenses.”.  The overwhelming majority of patients when informed of this will look at you in stunned amazement and appear to be studying the statement to determine whether they heard you right or attempt to figure out what the catch is.   The thought of vision loss from contacts seems to never have occurred to them.  Yet, every year, dozens of patients lose vision from contact lens wear.  The most common cause?  Corneal infections.  Some patients may protest: “Well, yes, some people abuse their contacts.” or “But I always disinfect my contacts.”  Obviously patients who abuse or don’t disinfect are at greater risk, but the truth is, all patients who wear contacts are at a greater risk of vision loss than patients who do not.  In distinction, the risk of vision loss from LASIK is quite rare.  Numerous studies  confirm that LASIK is actually safer than contact lenses and, as laser technology improves, the disparity in safety can be expected to become greater.  Round 1 goes to LASIK

The leading cause of vision loss from contact lenses is corneal ulcers (infections)
Round 2: Cost
“But LASIK is expensive.  I can’t afford it.” says a typical skeptic?  Expensive? Think about how much you spend every year in exams, contacts and supplies, and eyeglasses.  The typical LASIK patient will save thousands of dollars in just a few years.  Not to mention the additional time savings in not having to go in for contact lens exams, eyeglass fittings etc..  Even if you have vision insurance, you can come out ahead.  No, LASIK is not expensive, it’s a worthwhile investment that pays for itself many times over.  And, because most LASIK providers provide financing, you won’t have to pay for the entire procedure all at once.  The final knock-out blow?  LASIK is a tax deductible expense and can be paid for in pre-tax dollars or via a flexible spending account.  Round 2 goes to LASIK in a knockout.
It’s no contest.  If you are a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery, LASIK beats contact lenses.

Article by
Raleigh-Durham Ophthalmologist