Several thousand people undergo LASIK surgery each year. Also known as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction, LASIK is a type of refractive surgery that employs lasers to reshape a patient’s cornea in order to improve visual acuity. It is used to correct refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. LASIK is a popular choice for those who don’t want to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses.
LASIK surgery is an outpatient clinical procedure performed by a specially trained ophthalmologist. The procedure is non-invasive and takes only a few minutes to complete. Many patients notice improved vision immediately following the procedure. The results are permanent, but the procedure won’t prevent the development of age-related conditions such as presbyopia or cataracts.
In preparing to have LASIK, patients are often surprised to learn that they cannot wear contact lenses for a little while before having the procedure. Read on to find out why you have to stop wearing contact lenses before LASIK.
Before the LASIK Procedure
A pre-operative examination is necessary before the procedure can be scheduled. Your doctor will examine your vision and inform you of the risks and benefits of LASIK surgery, along with alternatives. They’ll also tell you what you should expect before, during, and after the procedure.
Part of the examination involves scanning the outer surface of the eye to create a topographical map of the cornea. The scan measures and analyzes tiny variations in curvature and elevation of the cornea. Your doctor will use this information to determine where and how much corneal tissue needs to be removed during your LASIK eye surgery procedure. It’s critical that these measurements are precise; even a slight error could affect the outcome of your LASIK surgery.
Contact Lenses Affect the Accuracy of Corneal Measurements
To ensure the accuracy of the tests, your eye doctor will tell you to stop wearing contact lenses for a certain period before your examination for LASIK surgery. Even the best fitting contact lenses can cause swelling, dryness, and other conditions that can change the shape of the cornea, affecting the results of the test. Depending on the type of contact lens you wear, it may take days or weeks for your eyes to return to their natural shape.
Different types of contact lenses will require different periods of adjustment.
- Soft contact lenses: 2 weeks before your initial evaluation.
- Hard lenses: At least 4 weeks before your initial evaluation.
Only after accurate corneal measurements have been obtained can your doctor develop an effective LASIK treatment plan.
96% of LASIK patients experience excellent results after their LASIK procedure, including better day and night vision. There is little to no discomfort (no bandages or stitches are required) and a short recovery period after a LASIK laser eye surgery procedure.
Are You a Candidate for LASIK?
You may be a candidate for LASIK eye surgery if:
- You are over the age of 18;
- Have a stable vision prescription;
- Your prescription is within LASIK limits of correction; and
- Are in good health.
If you’re tired of wearing glasses or contact lenses, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist or refractive counselor to discuss your particular situation and help determine if you are a good candidate for laser vision correction. Certain conditions, including keratoconus, dry eye syndrome, autoimmune diseases (such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis), and diabetes may disqualify you as a candidate for LASIK laser eye surgery.
Schedule a Free LASIK Evaluation with Berkeley Eye Center
Berkeley Eye Center has been protecting the vision health of patients in Houston and surrounding communities for over 60 years. Our tradition of “Eye Care Excellence” was founded on award-winning customer service, experienced LASIK eye surgeons you can trust, and being an eye care provider you can count on for ALL of your eye care needs.
As a leading pioneer in LASIK eye surgery procedures, Berkeley Eye Center’s team of eye care professionals are recognized experts in the field of cataract, refractive and oculoplastic eye surgery. We’re the first and only LASIK provider in the greater Houston area to offer the iDESIGN Refractive Studio. iDESIGN allows us to provide our patients a next-generation level of LASIK customization with a single, three-second scan of the entire human optical system.
Worried about the cost of a LASIK eye surgery procedure? We offer various financing options with approved credit (including 0% financing for two years) and are here to help find the right option for you.