With millions of people in the U.S. currently suffering from , farsightedness, and astigmatism, many have, or will consider LASIK as a possible treatment option at some point in their lifetime. However, there is still a general hesitation in today’s culture when it comes to actually having the procedure. While it is understandable that some might be a tad nervous about having a laser pointed directly at their cornea, the belief that LASIK is a relatively new, primitive, or dangerous procedure with dozens of pitfalls could not be further from the truth.
Over the past 22 years, I’ve performed over 130,000 LASIK and PRK procedures, and a majority of patients that I see on a daily basis are those looking to free themselves from their dependence on contact lenses. One of the most common questions I get from these patients is “Why is LASIK better than continuing to use contact lenses?”
The obvious answer is how wonderful it would be to be free from the dependence on contact lens wear. However, there are two other compelling reasons of why LASIK IS better than long term contact lens wear:
1. The safety of one compared to the other.
2. The cost of LASIK compared to the cost of contact lenses over a lifetime.
LASIK today is not what it used to be 23 years ago when the FDA first approved the vision correction procedure. There has been an incredible amount of research and technological advancements that have made the surgery even more effective with safety at the forefront including:
Our lasers are equipped with sophisticated eye tracking technology that follows the eye everywhere it goes during surgery. This not only is peace of mind for our patients who ask “what if I move my eye during surgery!?” but it actually results in better quality of vision.
Femtosecond Lasers more precisely create the LASIK flap compared to the Microkeratome which uses a blade. This laser technology has reduced the incidence of Dry Eyes and flap complications yet offers a faster healing time. As you can imagine, with a blade, there is more room for error and complications.
With regard to safety, a key danger associated with contact lenses applies to those who sleep in them. Overnight use of contact lenses increases the chance of damaging your cornea (known as infectious keratitis, or corneal ulcers) to a 1 in 40 chance over a 10 year period. If that infection is within the center of your cornea, you are likely to have a permanent decrease in your vision. According to a recent CDC report, in 2015, more than 1 million visits were made in the United States to eye doctor’s offices and emergency rooms for complications from contact lens related corneal infections. In the over 130,000 LASIK and PRK procedures I’ve done, I have never had a patient develop a corneal ulcer/corneal infection.
It is also likely that long-term contact lens wearers are more likely to develop dry eyes than those who wear glasses. It is believed that contact lenses damage the oil producing glands (Meibomian glands) in the eye lids that are responsible for maintaining a healthy tear film. That, combined with infrequent blinking and incomplete blinking, much like what happens with long term digital device use, is responsible for decreasing the expression of these oil glands and may eventually result in blocked glands. That is why, I believe, there is less risk in a LASIK procedure compared to the lifetime-wear of contact lenses, especially if worn overnight.
Cost Comparison and Independence from Relying on Contact Lenses:
When you compare the cost of daily wear contact lenses and glasses (typically $500 or more per year) over a decade, with the cost of LASIK surgery, LASIK becomes a great investment, especially at NVISION. When you add to that the convenience and safety of LASIK compared to long term contact lens wear, LASIK becomes an obvious choice.
Many of our patients choose NVISION for our superior technology, experienced surgeons, and, to protect your investment, our LASIK Lifetime Commitment program. With the NVISION Lifetime Commitment, NVISION offers the peace of mind that if a future enhancement is needed to maintain vision results, clinically qualified participating patients will receive a same-technology enhancement procedure free of charge.
“Crystal clear vision”, “vision like I had when I was young”, and “I wish I had done it sooner!” are just a few of the phrases I hear on a daily basis from patients after their LASIK surgery.
If you’re ready to see if LASIK is right for you, book a LASIK consultation with us- it’s free and may be the perfect solution to your vision needs. You have nothing to lose (okay, maybe your glasses and contacts!) and everything to gain (clear vision through your own eyes!)
“Dr. Tooma and the rest of the NVISION staff made me feel perfectly comfortable about my LASIK procedure from the first consultation to the point of walking out the door post-procedure. I can’t say enough great things about the clean, organized, professional, welcoming nature of NVISION - this really made a difference in my original decision to go through with the process and say yes to the procedure after a period of deliberation. I was recommended to Dr. Tooma and NVISION by close friends and colleagues, and I am already doing the same for others thinking about having their eyes’ potential realized. Any doubts or pressures I had lingering in my mind walking into the day of my procedure were completely calmed and dissipated in entering the operating room and speaking with Dr. Tooma, who reassured me that I’d be in good hands. Nothing has turned out to be more true. I love my new eyes! Thank you NVISION and thank you, Dr. Tooma!”
-James S, Professional Volleyball Player
In the wild, I prefer contact lenses to enhance my vision. Nonetheless, because I oftentimes travel to arid climates such as Joshua Tree National Park, my contacts tend to dry out fast. On this account, I can always be expected to carry artificial tears within an arm’s reach. Eventually when my eyes have become irritated enough, I surrender to my glasses (aka a friendly reminder to tone down my enthusiasm, now that plastic frames are on my face.)
Not only do the contact lenses become a nuisance, but the discomfort can also be dangerous. Most notably when I’m rock scrambling and maintaining a grip between boulders, the last thing I want running through my mind is: Get ready! The moisture of your contacts are about to dry up...Oh dear, there goes your vision. A bit blurry isn’t it. Why do I remember now that rocks are scary and sharp?
The final straw was when I was camping in the Sequoias and lost one of my contacts. I had forgotten to bring additional lenses and naturally, my glasses. So… I had to function with one eye for the rest of the duration of the trip, which lasted for several days. For those who are active and love the outdoors, one of the best parts of a trip is the scenery. For me, when my vision was compromised, it felt like I was injured and then outcast from a place I loved so dearly.
Because of these experiences, I was overjoyed to get LASIK with Dr. Pirnazar at NVISION Newport Beach. To anticipate that all the years of overly dry contacts, worrying about if I packed my glasses, or waking up to a blurry picture were about to end! It’s electrifying! Check out the video of my procedure, below!
Now that my LASIK procedure is completed and I've given my eyes a few days to heal, my immediate goal is to backpack the Six Peaks in California. From there, I can’t wait to move freely, be independent, and live without worry – because my adventure, is ready to see again!
The cold winter months have passed and spring is here upon us. As we look forward to the warm weather and outdoor events, there is just one thing that a great number of us are dreading…allergies.
You know the drill: itchy, red, or even burning sensations in your eyes. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology estimates that 50 million people in the United States have seasonal allergies. This affects approximately 30% of adults and 40% of children.
Common causes of allergies are airborne around you every day both indoors and outdoors. Things like pollen (grass, trees, weeds), mold, dust, and pet dander triggers the cells in your eyes release histamine and other chemicals that cause inflammation.
Luckily, there’s relief and tips for prevention to avoid or limit exposure with your trigger(s).
Avoid going outside and close windows when pollen count is high
How do I know what the pollen count is you may ask? Click here to see what Google’s forecast is.
Use A/C and air filters/purifiers and be sure to swap them out as recommended by the manufacturer
Wear sunglasses or glasses when outside to keep the pollen out of your eyes
Use special pillow covers to keep allergens out
Wash bedding frequently in hot water
Consider replacing old mattresses
Clean floors with a damp mop
Replace carpeting with hardwood for an easier clean
Keep humidity levels in homes below 30-50%
Consider having an expert in if any water damage has occured
Keep animals outside as much as possible and out of the bedroom
Wash your hands after touching pets
After being near a pet, wash your clothes
For any contact lens wearers, you may want to remove your contacts and opt for your eyeglasses until your allergy symptoms are gone. This is because the surface of contact lenses can attract and accumulate airborne allergens. If wearing your glasses is not an option, you can switch to daily disposable contacts to avoid allergen and other debris buildup.
Experiencing allergies now? Some treatments for allergies include:
Decongestant eye drops (do not use long-term!)
A last bit of advice: Avoid rubbing your eyes, it will only irritate your eyes more!