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The 4 reasons why LASIK is superior to Contact Lenses



There are three main ways of correcting visual errors:

  • Prescription Eyeglasses
  • Contact Lenses
  • Refractive Surgery (LASIK is the most common).

Many people choose to use eyeglasses, as they offer a strong combination of safety, effectiveness and cost. Those who pursue an alternative to eyeglasses for functional and cosmetic reasons have the choice between Contact Lenses and Refractive Surgery.

Contact Lenses were introduced to the market in the late 1940s, while refractive surgery became available to consumers in the early 1980s. Disposable Soft Contact Lenses became popular in the late 1980s while, LASIK began to become a legitimate option for vision correction users in the mid-1990s.

There are pros and cons to both methods of vision correction, which will be explored within four different categories:

  • Safety
  • Visual performance
  • Comfort/Convenience
  • Cost

1. Safety

Laser Vision Correction (for simplicity’s sake will now be referred to as LASIK) is now safer than ever as a result of its recent yet tremendous technological advances.  Specifically, the introduction of the femtosecond laser (All-laser LASIK or IntraLASIK) that is used in the creation of the corneal flap has drastically increased its level of safety.  Previously, the flap was created with a very precise blade, yet the femtosecond laser has vastly surpassed this blade by yielding substantially superior results.

Simultaneously, however, Excimer lasers, the laser machines used in the actual correction of the visual error, have been continuously upgraded with very sophisticated software, which has not only increased the accuracy of the correction of the visual error, but has facilitated a certain type of treatment that reduces some of the side effects first witnessed during the introduction of LASIK, such as night halos and glare.

At CODET Vision Institute, we have been retrospectively following LASIK patients since 1994.  If we could synergize all of our data, clinical research, and observations since 1994 into one conclusion, it would be that the safety of LASIK increases with time. Infections due to the surgery itself are basically non-existent one month after the surgery and the rate of infections are extremely low (less than 0.05%) in the early postoperative period.

Similarly, Contact Lens patients have been followed extremely closely at CODET since the 1980s.  Unlike most LASIK or Ophthalmology centers around the world, CODET Vision Institute has profound roots in the fitting of Contact Lenses, as we have always strived to offer patients the newest technology available.  As previously mentioned, Contact Lenses have existed longer than LASIK, so we have even more experience fitting Contact Lenses than treating patients with LASIK.

With regards to the safety of Contact Lenses during the last decade, we have observed two extremes:

  • Cases in which contacts have been very safe.
  • Cases in which Contact Lenses have caused highly unsafe health conditions, such as infections that lead to drastic medical measures. 

Lets take a closer look at these extremes in greater detail:

  • On the one hand, Disposable Soft Contact Lenses have decreased the incidence of Contact Lens-related allergies.  Furthermore, the advent of daily replacement Contact Lenses has too lowered the incidence of Contact Lens-related infections. 
  • On the other hand, the renewed popularity and use of Extended Wear Contact Lenses, coupled with the introduction of newer materials and disinfecting solutions, has lead to recent increase in the incidence of corneal ulcers. It has been published that the incidence of corneal infections increases at a rate of about 2% for daily wear and 6% extended wear Contact Lenses, with continual use overtime.

There is no question that the incidence of complications can vary for both LASIK and Contact Lenses and that there are many variables that will influence outcomes. It is precisely for this reason that at CODET, we have developed a systematic and universally applicable set of standards that should be followed so that the safety of LASIK is maximized and the post-LASIK satisfaction level of the patient is optimized.  These standards are called the CODET LASIK SystemTM.

With the CODET LASIK SystemTM, we ensure that the LASIK patient is properly educated, meticulously evaluated, and that the procedure is performed with state-of-the-art equipment under the care and supervision of world renown surgeons, such as Dr. Arturo Chayet, who not only is highly experienced (inventor of All-Laser LASIK), but simultaneously treats all patients as if they were his own family, recognizing the importance and value of each individual’s eyes and vision.

Lastly, specifically regarding the safety of LASIK at CODET, we’d like to emphasize that the Institute was tailor-designed and built from the ground up with specific patient needs in mind. The laser suites are so impeccable, efficient, and consisting of the best equipment possible that the Institute requires its own energy generating power plant.  For those who will continue to use their Contact Lenses, we strongly advise our patients to avoid the use of extended wear contacts lenses and instead utilize daily replacement disposable contacts, as we’ve found the latter to be the least likely to lead to a Contact Lens related infection.

2. Visual Performance

LASIK’s visual correction range and precision is undoubtedly superior to that of any type of Contact Lenses.

  • Diopter Steps – With LASIK, we can perform optical corrections of 0.05 diopters steps (the smaller, the more precise) both for sphere (myopia, hyperopia) as well as for the cylinder (astigmatism), while with soft Contact Lenses, the steps are of 0.25 diopters for sphere and of 0.50 diopters for the cylinder.
  • Axis Steps – We can correct the cylinder using 1-degree axis steps with LASIK, a major advantage over the 10-degree steps with soft Contact Lenses.
  • Astigmatism Correction Range – We have rigid limitations to the range of correction that Contact Lenses can offer for astigmatism.  They can only correct astigmatism up to 2.75 diopters, while such limitations with LASIK are non-existent.

3. Comfort and Convenience

Dry eye symptoms are pretty common following LASIK, however those symptoms will surely decrease with time and are less intense when patients undergo-All Laser-LASIK or PRK, when compared to Standard LASIK. Proper natural lubrication returns to baseline after 6 months from the operation in most patients.

In sharp contrast, Contact Lens users often will suffer from more long-term symptoms, seldom witnessed after LASIK.  Moreover, Contact Lens users also widely complain about the hassle and inconvenience of handling and cleaning Contact Lenses. Below is a list of just a few of these symptoms and inconveniences:

  • General irritation
  • Redness
  • Dryness
  • LASIK has an edge over Contact Lenses at bedtime and during awakening stages of the day. Many people, for example, enjoy watching TV before bedtime.   If you wear Contact Lenses, you’ll need to use your glasses in this scenario. Similarly, Contact Lens users are force to use their glasses immediately after waking up in the morning.  Both of these scenarios are nonexistent for LASIK patients, as their vision is perfectly sharp before and after bedtime.

At CODET, we have concluded that discomfort increases over time with the use of Contact Lenses, while discomfort drastically decreases in the LASIK post-operative period.

4. Cost

Contact Lenses cost significantly more than LASIK over the long run.  In particular, the use of Soft Disposable Daily Contact Lenses can cost a patient over $1,000 in any given year.  Although the price of LASIK may vary, the cost of LASIK for both eyes equals the cost of Contact Lenses during a period of ONLY 2 to 4 years! If you get LASIK when you are 20-years-old, you will save thousands of dollars on contacts lenses over the next decades.  Please call us today to learn more about how you can save money when you switch from Contact Lenses to LASIK!

Established in 1986 · 1st IntraLASIK worldwide in 1995 · 1st Light Adjustable Lens worldwide in 2002
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