LASIK vs. Contact Lenses in the COVID-19 Crisis– The Choice Is Clear
Technology Has Made LASIK Surgery a Superior Option in Terms of Long-Term Safety, Cost, and Lifestyle
By: Paul Dougherty, M.D., Founder and Medical Director, Dougherty Laser Vision (with offices across Los Angeles, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties)
Over the past 25 years, I’ve performed over 40,000 LASIK and PRK procedures, and the majority of those patients have sought freedom from their dependence on contact lenses. Their most common question during the initial consultation is “Why is LASIK better than continuing to use contact lenses?”
While the most obvious answer for such patients is that they’ll be free from dependence on contact lens wear, there are two other equally compelling reasons why LASIK IS better in the long term:
- Cost (compared to contact lens use over a lifetime)
LASIK today is not what it used to be 23 years ago, when the FDA first approved the vision correction procedure. A wealth of research and technological advancements have made LASIK even more safe and effective.
- Femtosecond Lasers
Femtosecond lasers create a far more precise LASIK flap compared to traditional microkeratomes that use a mechanical blade. This advanced laser technology reduces the incidence of dry eyes and flap complications while providing faster healing time.
- Eye Trackers
Our lasers are equipped with sophisticated eye tracking technology that follows even the most subtle eye movements during surgery. This not only provides peace of mind for our patients who ask, “what if I move my eye during surgery?!” – but actually results in better quality vision.
- Wavefront-Optimized and Topography-Guided Lasers
A new generation of lasers employ technology that makes it possible for the surgeon to get incredibly precise measurements of up to 7000 points on the surface of the cornea in order to treat corneal irregularities. This gives us an opportunity to substantially improve the statistical chance for our patients to achieve 20/20 vision, with reduced incidence of halos and glare. In fact, well over 95% of DLV Vision patients with Nearsightedness and Astigmatism have 20/20 uncorrected vision following surgery.
Finally, with regard to safety, a key danger associated with contact lenses involves overnight use. Many people sleep without removing their contact lenses, and doing so increases the chance of damaging your cornea (a condition known as infectious keratitis, or corneal ulcers). People who sleep without removing their contacts have a 1 in 40 chance of developing such problems over a 10-year period. According to a recent CDC report, in 2015, more than 1 million eye doctor and emergency room visits were made in the United States for complications from contact lens-related corneal infections. After performing more than 40,000 LASIK and PRK procedures, I have never had a patient lose vision from a corneal ulcer/corneal infection.
In addition, long-term contact lens wearers are also more likely to develop dry eyes. It is believed that contact lenses damage the oil producing glands (Meibomian glands) in the eyelids that are responsible for maintaining a healthy tear film. This, combined with infrequent blinking and incomplete blinking, decreases the expression of these oil glands and may eventually result in blocked glands.
The cost of daily wear contact lenses and glasses is typically $500 or more per year. When you compare this cost over a decade to the cost of LASIK surgery, it becomes clear that LASIK is a great investment. When you also consider the added convenience and safety, LASIK is the clear choice.
“I have never seen this well in my life!”
“Vision like I had when I was young.”
“I can’t believe I waited this long to do it!”
These are just a few of the comments I hear on a daily basis from patients after their LASIK surgery.
If you’re ready to see if LASIK vision correction is right for you, book a consultation with DLV Vision. It’s free, and you may find that LASIK is the perfect solution to your vision correction needs. You have nothing to lose (except perhaps your glasses and contacts!) and everything to gain (including clear vision through your own eyes!).