Outside of eyeglasses, the two most prevalent means of vision correction today are surgery (most often the laser procedure called LASIK) and contact lenses. Many ask that of the two options, which is better? Both methods allow for a ‘natural look’, but with differing approaches.
The major impression that people get from LASIK is better vision without cumbersome eyewear. But despite the high success rate with LASIK, eye doctors agree* not everyone achieves crisp 20/20 vision after just one procedure. In these instances, enhancement surgery is needed to arrive at the sharpness patients expect. However, if there are complications with the initial surgery (or if the cornea is determined to be too thin) enhancement cannot take place. It should be noted that even with successful LASIK outcomes, oftentimes further eye issues as we age (i.e. presbyopia) will require some kind of prescription lens. So, surgery or not, eyewear always remains a distinct possibility.
Contact lenses, by contrast, do not hamper you with the kind of ‘permanent fix’ inherent with LASIK. The options of changing prescriptions or refitting of different lenses allows for the flexibility needed to quickly deal with any issues until satisfaction is achieved—with no invasive alterations to the eye.
Hesitancy in choosing contact lenses many times stems from the perception that they are bothersome to maintain (cleaning, storing, etc.). In fact, improvements in lens technology over the past few years have minimized or eliminated these ‘chores’. The best example of this has been the introduction of daily disposable lenses whose main function is to do away with cleaning and storing lenses altogether. They are worn once and then discarded for a fresh pair. Also, the market now offers a wide range of contacts to suit almost anybody’s needs; effective contact lenses have been developed to treat an array of vision problems including astigmatism and the aforementioned presbyopia.
Another misconception is you are dependent on your eye doctor when it comes to buying contacts. This has been reversed by two factors: the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act and the rapid growth of online lens retailers. The former, a 2004 law, gives you the right to procure your contact lens prescription from your eye doctor; this leaves you free to buy lenses from other vendors—including those online. Reputable Internet retailers provide an easy and affordable means to select sellers that give you the best price for purchasing a steady supply of contacts…and right from your own home. What is more convenient than that?
If you are apprehensive about vision correction surgery, then the contact lens option may be the perfect solution. Consult your eye doctor to explore the benefits of vision correction through contacts.
*Gary Heiting, OD, “LASIK Enhancement: When Additional Surgery Is Needed”