Lasik surgery vs contacts, what you should know.
Recent studies have found that wearing contacts may cause more damage to your eyes than does laser eye surgery. Researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University found that a lifetime of wearing contact lenses is more likely to increase the risk of vision loss than laser eye surgery is.
People who wear contact lenses sometimes develop eye infections that cause vision loss. The researchers examined records of people who had been wearing contact lenses for 30 years and found that one in 100 developed an eye infection called bacterial keratitis and one in 1000 developed an eye infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis. With both infections, one in 2000 lost some vision.
The researchers then looked at the records of people who had laser eye surgery, and found that one in 1250 lost vision to surgical complications. The researcher also found that vision loss due to surgery developed shortly after the procedure while vision loss due to an eye infection took time to develop.
Both treatments are low-risk
It should be stressed that the research does not show either contacts or surgery to be dangerous to one’s eyes. If anything, it shows both treatments are quite safe.
One point to remember, though, is that eye laser surgery is becoming increasingly safe due to various technological advances such as blade-free eye laser surgery and faster lasers. Better patient screening and more skilled surgeons also help make the procedure increasingly less risky. By contrast, wearing contacts always has and always will require the user to insert a foreign object into their eyes with their fingers. That means there will always be some risk of infection when wearing contacts. The patients most likely to suffer vision loss were the ones who wore them for an extended period, as in slept with them.
Lowering the risks of vision loss
If you wear contacts, follow the below advice to wear them safely:
• Follow the doctor’s instructions for wearing them.
• Use only fresh contact lens solution to clean them. In other words, don’t use old solution or water.
• Follow the doctor’s instructions for cleaning your contacts.
• Don’t sleep in your contact lenses.
• Replace your contact lens case regularly.
If you’re considering laser eye surgery, follow this advice:
• Pick the most experienced and technologically savvy surgeon you can find.
• Don’t choose a doctor just because their inexpensive.
• Answer your surgeon’s questions about your medical history.
• Obey the doctor’s instructions for post-operative care.