Wearing Contacts Prior to LASIK - Non-regular Contact Wearer

I have LASIK scheduled for Thursday this week. I found the instructions and read them over and caught the part about not wearing contacts. I have worn them twice in the last week and would like to know the level of concern since I have worn them. I have an astigmatism and wear Air Optix (are these toric?) Here is a timeline: February 7: Worn for 2 hours February 21: Worn for 2 hours February 26: Worn for 2 hours March 3: Surgery Today is February 27

Doctor Answers 5

Wearing Contacts Before LASIK or Cataract Surgery

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

It is my office policy to have my patients not wear contact lenses for one week prior to LASIK or cataract surgery. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that contact lenses cause mild warping of the corneal shape, and, obviously, we want to uncover the natural corneal shape before proceeding with Laser Vision Correction or cataract surgery. The second is that the contact lenses are foreign materials and they can introduce the potential for infection, so taking a one week holiday from the lenses is a safe thing to do, as well. These are common sense requests before life changing LASIK or cataract surgery.

Baltimore Ophthalmologist

Generally we recommend a 2 week break from soft contact lens wear before LASIK

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

Generally we recommend a 2 week break from soft contact lens wear before LASIK. The period for rigid (hard) contacts is at least 4 weeks but can be much longer. The important thing is to have stable measurements.

Christopher Coad, MD
New York Ophthalmologist

Contact lenses and LASIK

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

I would recommend that you speak with your eyeMD performing your LASIK and have your eyes examined. They will be able to determine whether the shape and prescription is normal or altered by contact lens wear. It is best to leave your lenses out completely.

Sandy Feldman, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist

Wearing Contacts Prior to LASIK

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

There is no simple answer via a forum to this question.  Make sure that your surgeon knows that you have been wearing your contacts prior to the procedure even if sparingly.  While that is not ideal, the doctor can perform a corneal topography evaluation to see if the 3-dimensional shape of your cornea is regular or irregular and thus reschedule the procedure if necessary.

A good rule of thumb is to not wear regular soft lenses for 1 -2 weeks prior to the procedure. Soft Toric lenses should be removed 3-4 weeks prior; and rigid gas perm lenses should be out 1 month for every decade of lens wear.

Jay Bansal, MD
San Francisco Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Time out of contacts for LASEK LASIK

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

Please refer to my rather lengthy reply in this forum last month about the minimum amount of time you need to be out of contacts before LASIK or LASEK. Obviously, they should have told you way beforehand about this, as handing you this information and not have you read it until you're at home is NOT the proper way.

This is the RULE OF THUMB but is VERY IMPRECISE as it depends on many factors, including type of lens, how many hours a day worn, fit of lens, decades of wear, use of artificial tears, dry eyes, etc.  So the only ACCURATE way to determine this is by a test called a corneal topography.

soft contact lenses (non-tori) - 1 week

soft lenses (toric) - 2 weeks

extended wear lenses (overnight, which are horrible for your eyes, btw) - 3 weeks

hard/RGP lenses - 1 month (supposedly 1 month for every decade of wear, but actually not true/too long)

Anyway, there you have it, by a MD who did his Cornea & Refractive Fellowship under the world-famous George Warring at Emory after completing his residency at Harvard, so please don't believe anyone on this or other forum writing in anything that sounds like a better, firmer "rule" as that's BS!:)

Emil William Chynn, MD, FACS, MBA
New York 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.