Can I Stil Get Lasik if I've Abused Contact Lens Wear in the Past?

I admit that I am a contact lens abuser. For many years I have slept in them and my doctor has told me my eyes have been deprived of oxygen and I now have ghost vessels. Am I still a candidate for lasik even though I have ghost vessels? I still sleep in my contacts but now replace them more frequently (every month).

Doctor Answers 7

LASIK after contact lens wear

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Yes.  Generally staying out of contact lenses for a period of time will allow one to have successful laser vision correction.

New York Ophthalmologist

Contact Lens Abusers and LASIK

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Yes, Yes, Yes....please do, and hurry. We have proven that you are currently endangering your eyes much more by abusing contact lenses than by having LASIK. The only consideration is to have a good eye exam before the LASIK procedure and make sure you don't have any corneal scarring from the lenses that would either preclude or make LASIK more difficult. I doubt this would be the case. You need to stop this dangerous contact lens practice.....and LASIK is a great way to so this.

Anthony J. Kameen, MD
Baltimore Ophthalmologist

Yes, you are a candidate for LASIK but you must stop the lenses first!

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Many people abuse their contact lens wear and can make for very successful LASIK candidates.  You must stop wearing the lenses until your vision and eyes stabilize.  This may take up to several months and should be monitored by your doctor.  The ghost vessels are not a problem, but you may need some additional steroids to reduce inflammation during healing.  Also, if there are any active vessels you could have some bleeding at the time of your procedure but this can be controlled and should not affect your result.

Jon Dishler, MD, FACS
Greenwood Village Ophthalmologist

You might also like...

Lasik: A Possible Solution for Contact Wearers Who Sleep In Contacts

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Patients who are habitual abusive contact lens wearers usually develop ghost vessels, which are blood vessels that have regressed and are no longer functioning.  Such patients have all the more reason to consider undergoing vision correction due to the fact that prolonged contact lens abuse leads to numerous complications of the eye and of your vision. 

Sleeping in contacts is definitely not recommended and the first step is to immediately stop this practice.  It is still possible to get Lasik depending on the particular condition of your eyes.  A certified refractive ophthalmologis will be able to further examine the condition of your eyes and determine that you are a qualified candidate for the Lasik procedure based on your overall health.

Robert T. Lin, MD
City Of Industry Ophthalmologist

LASIK after sleeping in contact lenses

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It may be still possible to get LASIK, depending on the extent of the vessel ingrowth and the shape of your cornea, or front surface of your eye.  One of the most important factors is going to be discontinuing contact lens wear and making sure your eyes are stable before surgery.   Also, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions regarding your contact lenses.

Sandy Feldman, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist

Lasik surgery risks are far less than sleeping in contact lenses

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

First of all, please STOP sleeping in your contact lenses! The likelihood of a blinding corneal infection is dramatically increased when you sleep in contact lenses, not to mention the lack of corneal oxygenation can lead to the formation of ghost vessels, also known as peripheral corneal pannus. Most ghost vessels and corneal pannus are not contraindications to LASIK because they typically occur peripherally and the surgery is performed centrally, away from the vessels.

You can make your ghost vessels regress or even disappear simply by taking a holiday from your lenses and letting your corneas breathe again. In many ways you are actually an ideal candidate for laser vision correction surgery because the risks of surgery are far less than the risks of sleeping in your contact lenses each night.

Christopher Starr, MD
New York Ophthalmologist

LASIK after prolonged contact lens wear

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If you are a contact lens wearer who sleeps in them at night time, often the cornea becomes oxygen deprived.  The cornea normally does not have any blood vessels which allows it to be more translucent and clear.  As time goes on with an oxygen deprived state, new abnormal blood vessels form and we call this "pannus."  If the blood vessels are not used after awhile, because the oxygen improves we call the vessels "ghost vessels." 

Lasik surgery involves cutting a flap on the cornea.  We do not want cells of any kind to be caught under the flap because this can cause additional inflammation and certain cells can cause epithelial downgrowth.  These problems in their most severe form can cause visually significant issues.  If you have significant blood vessel formation I would most likely advise you have PRK rather than LASIK.  PRK does not involve a flap and many of the complications with pannus and ghost vessels can be avoided.  The recovery time is longer, but in your case a safer procedure. 

Jennifer J. Lee, MD
Seattle Ophthalmologist

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.