If you’ve worn glasses for years and you’re looking for a change, you may be considering contact lenses or LASIK surgery. But when it comes to LASIK vs contact lenses, there are many advantages and drawbacks that are linked to both types of vision treatment options. If you’re a long time contact lens wearer, then you may be sick of dealing with contact lens cases, solution and everything involved with contact lens care, so LASIK surgery may seem like the smarter solution. However, there are many risks linked to this type of procedure, not to mention a higher price tag. In the end, learning more about both types of vision treatment options can help to point you in the right direction and find a treatment that will help to improve your vision and your quality of life.
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Are Contact Lenses A Good Option?
There are a variety of contact lens types to choose from, based on your vision needs. But if you’re not able to keep up on basic contact lens hygiene, you can put yourself at risk of infection. Rigid contact lenses must be soaked overnight using the best contact lens solution, and a lens case. If you fail to regularly clean them and soak them overnight, then you may end up with a painful eye infection or contacts that are very uncomfortable to wear. Additionally, people who have worn contacts for several years are also more likely to develop dry eyes compared to people who wear glasses. Some researchers believe that contact lenses damage the meibomian glands in the eye, which are the glands that are responsible for producing the oils that keep the eyes lubricated.
In terms of cost, a contact lens wearer can expect to pay around five hundred dollars a year, which can certainly add up over the years, but will not be quite as big of a financial blow as LASIK surgery.
What is LASIK Surgery?
LASIK surgery is a procedure that corrects refractive errors. The goal of the procedure is to improve a person’s ability to focus. Essentially, it reverses astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness.
Before you can qualify for the surgery, you’ll need to undergo several consultations. Your doctor will first take your eye measurements, in order to determine the best method to use to reshape your corneas. If you are a current contact lens wearer, then you’ll have to cease wearing them for two weeks to one month before your first consultation. This is because the contacts can change the cornea’s shape. This can make getting an accurate measurement difficult.
During the procedure, the doctor will cut and peel back a portion of the cornea. They will then use a laser to reshape the cornea. The reshaping of the cornea will allow light to reflect on it properly. During the procedure, the patient must keep their eyes open the entire time. The physician will numb the eyes and will use a tool called a lid speculum in order to prevent the eyes from closing. The patient will need to stare into a bright light during the procedure in order to focus their eyes while the laser works its magic.
The procedure may feel uncomfortable and the patient’s vision may become blurry. Once the procedure is through the doctor will not use stitches to repair the cornea, and will instead use an eye shield that’s designed to prevent the patient from pushing on their eyes or rubbing them due to itchiness, while they sleep.
The healing process can take up to six months, but the patient will be able to resume their normal activities during that period of time.
The FDA does not recommend this surgery for everyone since it is a complicated procedure. So, what can make this surgery a poor choice and when should contact lenses be used as a better alternative treatment for vision problems? Are there any risks related to LASIK Surgery?
What are the Risks of Lasik Surgery?
If you’ve worn contact lenses for years and you’re interested in a long term solution to your vision needs, then LASIK surgery may sound like a great solution. But before you decide to meet with your physician for a consultation regarding surgery, it’s important that you do your research and learn about the risks.
This type of surgery is not without complications, with infection being one of them. People who wear contact lenses must practice proper hygiene and use their lenses correctly in order to minimize the risk of infection. If you’re thinking of having LASIK surgery, then you’ll also need to closely follow the aftercare instructions carefully in order to minimize your risk of infections and other complications. But while following the instructions can help to reduce the chances of infection, it will not completely eliminate the risk.
This surgery is significantly more expensive than contact lenses or glasses. On average surgery can run the cost of twenty-two hundred dollars per eye. If you have vision insurance, they may only pay a small part of the cost.
It’s important that you maintain realistic expectations regarding the results of surgery. After the procedure, you may not have perfect vision, however, many people believe that they will. Some people who have had LASIK will still need to wear contact lenses or use glasses, once they get older. The way a person’s corneas respond to treatment is what will determine the final results after they have the surgery.
Many different types of contact lenses can be a better alternative to LASIK, especially if you’re someone who drives often at night. Glare can be a major issue for some people after surgery, and because of this, many people will not opt to have this procedure done. Right after surgery, people tend to see glare or a halo effect in certain lighting conditions, especially at night. While this can dissipate over the course of several months, for most people, it will not go away entirely.
If a person sees halos or glare around streetlights or headlights, then driving at night can be dangerous. This is because the driver will find that they’re not able to distinguish between objects, which can make them blind to obstacles in their path including pedestrians and other drivers.
Long Term Effects
Some people will report that they experience headaches on a daily basis immediately following surgery. These headaches will not go away even after several months have passed. This long term effect can make it difficult to enjoy activities or concentrate. Aside from headaches, some people will experience red eyes, chronic dry eyes, and sensitivity to light. Others will find that it can take much longer for their eyes to focus, which can put more strain on their vision.
Contact Lens Alternative
If you decided to have LASIK surgery and you’re still struggling with vision problems, you can find contact lenses that can improve your vision and make your eyes feel more comfortable. Gas permeable and hybrid lenses can both be great options since they can help treat problems due to eye surgery. However, you will need to work with a specialist in order to get contacts that fit correctly, yet it will be worth it in order to reduce some of the uncomfortable long term effects caused by LASIK surgery.
Choosing the Right Option
When you’re trying to choose between contacts or LASIK, make sure you consider the drawbacks of surgery, such as quality of life, glare, vision quality, cost, and possible infection. You can wear contact lenses and still participate in all the activities you enjoy while avoiding many of the risks linked to LASIK surgery.
If you’re not sure which treatment will be right for you, meet with your doctor to discuss your options, and to weigh the pros and cons of each treatment. If your insurance will not pay a high portion of the cost of LASIK surgery, then you may not have much of a choice in terms of which vision option will be the best for you. Fortunately, this surgery is much more affordable than what it was just a few years ago.
In terms of LASIK vs contact lenses, in the end, it will all boil down to your doctor’s recommendation, your willingness to take your chances knowing the risks linked with LASIK surgery, or, if you opt for contact lenses, your ability to maintain proper lens hygiene. There are many pros and cons when it comes to each option. However, with contact lenses, you will not have to deal with the long terms effects of a surgery gone wrong. In the end, many people will opt to use contact lenses since the new types and styles of lenses available today are easier to care for, maintain, and much more comfortable when compared to contact lenses of the past.