While LASIK surgeries maintain a positive reputation as a quick and (almost) painless solution to visual impairment, there are instances where the success of the surgery does not mean that your relationship with contact lenses is over.
LASIK, a refractive surgery involving the use of lasers to correct vision, has a varying result for different patients, as everyone has a different reaction from their corneas post-surgery. The degree of positive results from LASIK depends on the ability of your corneas to heal in the weeks following the procedure. If the corneas do not heal properly, you may find that, although your vision is probably better, it is not the 20/20 vision you’d hoped for pre-surgery.
If you find yourself unsatisfied with the results, you may opt for a second surgical procedure or, more likely (and safely), continued use of contacts. It is important to note, in this instance, that your ability to wear contact lenses will now be limited and vastly different from what you have been used to in the past.
Considering the lasers involved with LASIK specifically target tissue within the cornea, the topography of your eyes is going to be not only different from what it was pre-surgery, but potentially irregular and problem-causing. To correct this issue, it is commonly recommended that users seek out gas-permeable or hybrid lenses, both of which are hard contact lenses.
Gas-permeable lenses in particular prove useful for contact users post-LASIK because they do not mold to the shape of the eye in the way other contact lenses may, making them unlikely to take on an irregular shape. These lenses also contain a liquid that fills the gap between the contact lens and the cornea, which serves a moisturizing as well as anti-blurring purpose. These lenses play a role that simple eyeglasses cannot effectively fill post-LASIK.
Hybrid lenses, meanwhile, are a relatively new technology that has emerged in the eye care world that, as implied by their label, are a hybrid of gas-permeable lenses and soft contact lenses. These lenses are known to be slightly more comfortable and just as effective as normal gas-permeable lenses’ liquid solution built to cushion and moisturize the cornea.
A third alternative to consider are high-definition eyeglass lenses, which are custom-built for the user and correct irregular astigmatism. These lenses are also notorious for providing a clearer visual image for users as compared to regular eyeglasses – an “HD” for vision, so to speak.
It is crucial to emphasize that any decisions made to wear contact lenses post-LASIK should be in collaboration with your eye doctor. Finding the right contact lenses for you post-surgery involves a more detailed eye examination and contact fitting that uses corneal topography imaging to determine the irregularity of your corneas’ shape and whether they may be able to be corrected using enhancement surgery.
These types of issues following LASIK surgery are uncommon, but those who leave the procedure unsatisfied with their results can feel comforted by the fact that there are still solutions to their ensuing visual impairment.