What's The Right Choice? Choosing Between Contact Lenses vs. LASIK

Posted on June 26, 2018

By: Dr. Tom Tooma, M.D., Founder

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:

  1. Eye Trackers
    1. 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.
  2. Femtosecond Lasers
    1. 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.
  3. Wavefront-Optimized, Wavefront-Guided, and Topography-Guided Lasers
    1. All three technologies have substantially improved the statistical chance of 20/20 vision.
    2. They offer improved outcomes, frequently resulting in better uncorrected vision after surgery than the best vision obtained with glasses and contact lenses before surgery.
    3. They reduce the incidence of halos and glare.
    4. 99% of NVISION patients with Nearsightedness and Astigmatism have uncorrected vision of 20/20 following surgery.

Overnight Contact Use: 

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

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