Research shows that most individuals with eye problems prefer contact lenses to laser eye surgery for it is perceived that they are safer and cost effective. That might not be necessarily true because the reality is with time lenses become expensive and unsafe when over-worn. Does this make laser vision correction the better alternative? Do the risks of over-dependence on contact lenses outweigh those of laser eye surgery? Before completely terming either of the two the better choice, it would be wise to look into their merits in terms of safety, cost and effectiveness and also their main drawbacks.
Both contact lenses and laser eye surgery are both safe to majority of the patients but it’s inevitable that each comes with some risks. The major risk associated with wearing contact lenses is eye infection while with laser eye surgery, one is likely to experience the visual disturbances and also dry eyes.
- Laser eye surgery
Laser-assisted in-situ keratectomy is one of the several options of vision correcting laser surgery. LASIK unlike PRK is more commonly used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and also astigmatism. The procedure uses a laser to reshape the cornea by making a flap in the cornea. The procedure is FDA approved and it’s the world’s most effective and fast refractive surgery. Because of this procedure tens of millions of people in the world are enjoying excellent vision without having to resort to dependence on contacts or glasses.
With the new refractive technology, there is less complaints about reduced vision because the femtosecond lasers create smaller cornea flaps. Additionally, the eye-tracking technology reduces the eye movement during surgery and also there is the waterfront-guided laser treatment that allows for provision of customized laser treatments because each individual has unique imperfections. There are so many better screening options to enable the surgeons to churn out the better candidates for this surgery which helps to avoid some of the major complication.
Even with such a major milestone in technology, some post-surgery complications are inevitable including nighttime glare and dryness. It’s the patient’s prerogative to reduce the risks to a minimum by picking the most experienced surgeon out there, the surgeon who uses the latest technology, give a detailed medical history to the healthcare provider, look past the cost and also follow all the follow-up to the latter as prescribed by the doctor.
- Contact lenses
We all know that numbers do not lie. Around 38 million people wear contacts daily. Research shows that 1 in every 100 people that uses contact lenses had a chance of getting serious eye infection and also 1 in every 2000 people had a chance of significant visual loss from infection. That doesn’t necessarily make them unsafe or highly risky, it’s only a remainder that each individual has control over the chances of getting an infection. To significantly reduce the risks, one can employ the following measures:
- Use them as prescribed by the specialist
- Do not sleep in them
- Regularly replace the contact lens case
- Strictly clean your contacts with the solution and do not re-use the solution
- Rinse the contacts as exactly recommended by the specialist
- Replace the after every three months
It’s true that both contact lenses and laser eye surgery can produce excellent vision quality for the qualified candidates. But what are the long term provisions? What happens if the vision changes later on?
- Laser eye surgery
Statistics show a great improvement in visual acuity of LASIK patients because of the major advances in the laser correction technology and also increased experience among refractive surgeons. With a 20/20 acuity achievement or better for most patients makes it such a big improvement. However, a minor percentage of the patients may experience vision change which might necessitate a second surgery or part-time use glasses. The procedure does not also completely fix presbyopia.
- Contact lenses
This is the perfect alternative for those who do not want to worry about the visual outcome. It might be expensive in the long run unlike the surgery which offers permanent correction but it’s a safer bet. Given that in some cases after surgery, one might still have to use contacts or glasses then contact lenses may be a better option.
Laser eye surgery
This is an investment in your vision and its more cost effective compared to a lifetime of contact wear. The average cost of LASIK eye surgery is $2100 per eye and to make it affordable for the patients most surgeons allow for monthly payment. Additionally, one still need to go for eye check-ups and purchase non-prescription sunglasses to that block the UV rays.
On average, a 30-year old can spend $30,000 on contact lenses in all their lifetime which is significantly higher than the cost of LASIK surgery. It also comes with additional non-monetary costs because even just the simplest things like waking up at night to look for your glasses can be difficult. LASIK gives you the freedom and clear vision and you wouldn’t have to worry about the uncomfortable, high-maintenance contact lenses.
Clearly, you can never win the all because both options have their benefits and also risks. In the end, even if laser eye surgery is safer, it’s important to seek the unbiased opinion of the surgeon before considering either of the two depending on your condition. The best approach is for the patient to get educated on the options and whatever their decision would be, at the end of the day is receiving the services at the highest possible level.