LASIK vs Contact Lenses
When it comes down to choosing how to correct your vision and whether to consider LASIK, there are many factors to consider such as comfort, convenience, lifestyle, eye strain, and of course cost. So which is better when it comes to comparing LASIK vs contact lenses? Personal situations and preferences will play a role in the decision but there are some clear differences between LASIK and Contacts and these will certainly influence the final decision.
LASIK vs. Contacts: Some Considerations
Financial Cost of Contact Lenses:
The total annual cost of wearing contact lenses depends on a number of factors, including your contact lens prescription, the type of contacts you choose and where you buy them.
Contact lenses will cost between $600 & $1,000 per year including the cost of supplies if they are required.
Daily disposable contacts. Daily disposable lenses are designed to be discarded after a single use. These lenses typically are sold in boxes of 30 lenses at a retail price of $30 to $40 per box or $720 to $960 per year.
Extended wear (30-day) contacts. Extended-wear contacts that are designed for up to 30 days of continuous wear will typically cost $60 to $75 per box of six lenses or $360 to $450 per year. These type lenses will also require solutions and cleaning supplies at an average annual cost of $150 to $200.
The cost of LASIK surgery can vary depending on promotions that may exist at the time of surgery. Prices range from $2000- $2500 per eye. (Total $4000-$5000). This is a one-time purchase and the benefits can last a lifetime.
Another consideration when assessing contact lenses vs LASIK is how active one’s lifestyle is. While contact lenses are an upgrade from glasses when it comes to those who frequently exercise or play sports, the lens can still become dislodged and/or lost either through rubbing the eye or from accidental contact. Swimming with contact lenses in place is not recommended due to the harm that chlorine and salts will cause the cornea when they are trapped behind the contact lens. Dangerous corneal infections can be caused by swimming in contact lenses as well. Sports that expose people to wind and dust can make contact lens wearing intolerable as well due to induced ocular inflammation. People with Laser Vision Correction will be happy to enjoy their active lifestyle, including exercise and sports without the need for vision correction or the worry of contact lens complications while they are doing what they love.
Comfort and Convenience
For some people, contact lenses are a big step up from eyeglasses when it comes to comfort. If their eyes do not suffer from dryness or allergies, and the contact lenses fit well, the wearer will usually not notice they are there.
However, for those times when a substance such as dirt gets in the eye, there can be significant discomfort with contact lenses. Contact lenses are convenient during the day, as they are with the wearer at all times, but they take some consistent maintenance. Contact lens wearers must put in the contacts every morning, then remove, disinfect, and store the contact lenses every night. Those with contacts also need to monitor how long they have been wearing their current contact lenses and be diligent about replacing them every two weeks (or as directed).
With LASIK, the only discomfort comes during the healing process immediately following the surgery. The patient may also experience some dry eye symptoms during that time and need to regularly apply eye drops. Once the eye has fully healed from the LASIK surgery, the eye should feel completely normal and should require no additional forms of maintenance.
A recent study by the OHSU Casey Eye Institute in Portland compared the chance of complications from contact lenses with the risks of vision correction surgery. If a contact lens wearer does not follow the cleaning and maintenance protocol, they may put themselves at risk for eye infections (such as conjunctivitis or keratitis) and in rare cases, bacterial keratitis or Acanthamoeba keratitis can result in severe vision loss. Issues can be minimized with proper daily lens care. Still, an estimated 1 million visits to clinics were made by contact lens wearers in 2010 to address issues related to microbial keratitis.
The study concluded that contact lenses can be a less safe choice than LASIK surgery. Both contact lenses and LASIK are very safe, although there is a small risk of complications from both.
Digital Eye Strain
In today’s digital world, eye strain is an increasingly relevant issue that can result in headaches, dry eye, and in some cases blurred vision. It has been suggested that digital eye strain may be amplified by eye conditions such as astigmatism or general refractive error and that contact lenses may contribute to digital eye strain, especially if the prescription is slightly off. LASIK should correct these underlying conditions, allowing patients to continue to use screens with less potential for eye strain and the negative side effects that are associated with it.
LASIK versus Contacts, SoCal Eye. Long Beach
SoCal Eye LASIK surgeons have been performing LASIK surgery in Long Beach since the procedure was developed in 1990s and are leaders in LASIK treatment. We have transformed the lives of thousands of happy and delighted patients from LA and Orange Counties including Long Beach, Huntington Beach and Garden Grove. Treatment starts with a Comprehensive Eye Exam. Schedule an Appointment today at (562) 531-2020 or send us an Online Consultation Request