/ /

  • linkedin
  • Increase Font
  • Sharebar

    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.

    New Call-to-action


    You must be signed in to leave a comment. Registering is fast and free!

    All comments must follow the ModernMedicine Network community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated. ModernMedicine reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part,in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

    • No comments available


    View Results