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    LASIK rivals contact lenses in visual acuity and comfort

    More than half of contact lens wearers in study cite symptoms/complaints, related infections

     

    Starbursts and halos

    When patients were questioned about the presence of starbursts and halos at night around bright lights, 1 month after LASIK, 4.6% of patients reported moderate starburst/halos at 1 month, which decreased to 2.4% at 5 years postoperatively. Of the CL wearers, 1.6% reported moderate starburst/halos and 1.3% reported severe starburst/halos. When asked about glare, the results were similar at 1 month for both treatments.

    Related: Consider latest excimer laser techniques for presbyopia

    Dry eye was slightly more problematic. Moderate dry eye symptoms were slightly increased at the 1-month time point, but at 5 years, similar numbers of patients had no dry eye symptoms, i.e., 5.5% and 8.7% for CL wears and LASIK patients, respectively. At the 5-year evaluation, the respective percentages declined to 3.8% and 5.6%. 

    The authors reported that overall, 52% of CL wearers had symptoms/complaints with their lenses, with dry eye (18.8%), irritation/discomfort (11.2%), and red eye (5.2%) the most common complaints. Nineteen percent of contact lenses wearers had an infection related to their CLs, and 8.3% had multiple infections related to their CLs.

    Which is superior: LASIK or contact lenses?

    Comparison of the discomforts experienced with CLs and those experienced after LASIK indicated that the advantage for LASIK was three times that of CLs, specifically, 27.8% of CL wearers never had a problem with their CLs compared with 79.5% of LASIK patients who never had a problem with discomfort after LASIK.

    Patients in this study overwhelmingly reported that LASIK improved their lives, i.e., 97.9%, according to investigators. When asked to compare their vision with glasses or CLs before LASIK, 98.5% of patients said their vision was equal to or better than that achieved with glasses and CLs.

    Related: When is crosslinking appropriate?

    Drs. Dell and Schallhorn concluded, “For CL wearers, more than half of patients (52%) reported problems with their contact lenses, 19% reported having had a CL-related infection, and 8.3% reported having multiple CL-related infections.”

    For those who underwent LASIK, the procedure was arguably safer than long-term CL wear, they noted.

    There was almost a three times lower prevalence of ocular discomfort compared with CLs. More patients achieve 20/16 binocular vision. There were no long-term differences in the incidence rates of glare, halo starburst symptoms, or dry eye symptoms.

    More: Keratoconus as refractive surgery—thinking outside the ‘cone’

     

    Steven Dell, MD

    E: [email protected]

    Drs. Dell is a consultant to Abbott Medical Optics, Advanced Tear Diagnostics, Allergan, Bausch + Lomb, Lumenis, Ocular Therapeutix, Optical Express, Presbyopia Therapies, and Tracey Technologies.

     

    Steven Schallhorn, MD

    Dr. Schallhorn is a consultant to Abbott Medical Optics, AcuFocus, Carl Zeiss Meditec, and Ivantis.

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