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Wearing Contacts (or Glasses) After LASIK: OK or Not?

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Can You Wear Glasses after LASIK?

After undergoing LASIK surgery, it is possible to wear contact lenses. However, the need for contacts is typically eliminated.

Still, in some instances, people might find it beneficial to wear contacts after surgery. There are some scenarios where contact lenses after LASIK may be considered, such as:

  • Residual refractive errors.
  • Age-related changes.
  • Specialized visual needs.
  • Temporary visual changes.

It is possible to wear contacts after LASIK, but they may not be the best option. Further correction, for instance, could be the better avenue for you.

It’s important to consult with your eye doctor or LASIK surgeon to discuss your individual circumstances, specific visual needs, and whether wearing contact lenses after LASIK is appropriate for you.

While you can wear contacts after LASIK, they will most likely not be necessary. With advancements in LASIK, success rates are the highest they’ve ever been with about 98% of patients attaining 20/20 vision or better after the procedure.

Is It Safe to Wear Contact Lenses After LASIK?

It is safe to wear contact lenses in specific situations after you undergo LASIK under the supervision of your optometrist. It is important to follow specific guidelines and wait for an appropriate healing period before doing so. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Healing period: After LASIK, your cornea needs time to heal and stabilize. The duration of this healing period can vary, but it typically ranges from a few weeks to a few months. It is crucial to allow your eyes to fully recover before reintroducing contact lenses.
  • Consult your eye doctor: It is essential to consult your eye surgeon or ophthalmologist regarding the appropriate time to resume contact lens wear after LASIK. They will evaluate your individual healing progress and provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.
  • Follow professional guidance: Your eye doctor will likely recommend a waiting period before wearing contact lenses again. This waiting period allows your cornea to stabilize and reduces the risk of complications. Adhering to their guidance is important to ensure the safety and health of your eyes. 
  • Proper hygiene and lens care: It is essential to maintain excellent hygiene and proper care of your contact lenses. Clean and disinfect your lenses according to the prescribed guidelines and replace them as recommended. This will help reduce the risk of infections or complications.

Remember, every individual’s healing process may vary, and the guidelines provided by your eye doctor should take precedence. They will provide specific instructions tailored to your situation to ensure the safe and successful use of contact lenses after LASIK surgery.

Why Wear Contacts After LASIK?

LASIK surgery is the most recommended treatment procedure for people suffering from refractive errors. While not everyone may be eligible to undergo LASIK surgeries, most vision patients pass the basic LASIK eligibility requirements. Additionally, after the procedure, you generally won’t need to wear glasses or contact lenses long-term because surgery improves your eyesight to the range between 40/20 and 20/20.

However, a small number of patients may still need corrective eyewear after LASIK surgery. While your doctor may ask you to wear glasses for a day or two after the procedure, some people may need to keep wearing glasses for a longer period. In the days following the procedure, you still require glasses to help your eyes adjust and protect harmful particles from undoing the progress made.

It would be rare, however, for your surgeon to recommend wearing contact lenses following LASIK. Because of what the surgery does – it creates a flap and reshapes the cornea – contact lenses could create negative effects.

Long-term, if you attempt to wear glasses or contacts to further improve your vision, you’ll be disappointed. This can stress your eyes and worsen your vision.

It’s possible that you will experience diminished sight years after having LASIK surgery. Wearing contact lenses at this point would be fine. You will have the approval of an eye doctor because the doctor will have to write a new prescription for glasses or contacts.

Other Reasons Why Contact Lenses are Needed after LASIK Surgery

Although the need to wear contacts or corrective glasses after LASIK is rare, there are situations in which your doctor may ask you to wear glasses after the procedure. It could be for therapeutic reasons, because it did not resolve an astigmatism or because there is another underlying reason why your vision did not improve.


Before LASIK was enhanced as a surgery to fix refractive errors, other procedures like photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) were widely used. While they were helpful, these traditional procedures were not as effective or successful as LASIK.

As a result, it was not uncommon to be required to wear glasses or contacts after PRK procures. These eyewear products were fashioned to shield your eyes after the procedure, which would give your eyes the best opportunity to heal. If the procedure was only partially successful, you might have been required to wear glasses for some time.

While rare, you may be asked to continue wearing your therapeutic contact lenses after LASIK surgery. Today, however, you only need to wear the glasses for a day or two following the procedure.


LASIK procedures enjoy a high success rate for improved vision (95 percent) and a high patient approval rating (96 percent). But in some rare cases, the underlying condition may not resolve during surgery. If this happens, you may have to wear standard soft, gas-permeable contacts to improve your vision.

After the procedure, you’ll have several follow-up appointments where the doctor will examine the procedure’s effectiveness in vision correction and restoration. These appointments can reveal any weaknesses in the procedure, and when found, it may result in you wearing corrective glasses.


Astigmatism is one of the tougher refractive errors to correct as the deterioration gets worse with age. That is why most corrective refractive surgeries stem from astigmatic conditions. If some traces of astigmatism remain even after the procedure, you may experience discomfort and blurry vision.

In these cases, specialists recommend Toric glasses to adjust the refractive error. However, on their own, these glasses cannot fix astigmatism, and they may not get worse where there’s a high astigmatic rate.


Some refractive error patients have extreme sensitivity to rigid gas permeable lenses. This can result in discomfort and irritation in the eyes. In such cases, you may be required to wear soft contact lenses with a rigid portion on the top.

The soft contact lens rests on the eye’s surface and causes little-to-no irritation, while the hardtop part offers corrective measures to help with refractive errors.


People who experience post-hypermetropic repair and iatrogenic corneal ectasia may also have steep corneas. Like keratoconus, the steep cornea has birth issues with the peripheral view. While LASIK can fix the condition, your vision largely depends on the cornea’s shape after the procedure. Special contacts can be used to correct and improve your vision.


While these lenses are considered gas permeable, they are often the last resort in fixing refractive errors. Scleral contacts are placed on the white part of the eye instead of the conventional cornea. However, they offer little breathing space and may feel a bit unusual and uncomfortable at first.

Scleral contacts are used when irregularly shaped corneas don’t incorporate the lenses effectively after LASIK surgery.

Presbyopia and Contacts After LASIK

Presbyopia is a common age-related condition that affects near vision and typically becomes noticeable around the age of 40. LASIK surgery primarily corrects distance vision, so after undergoing LASIK, some individuals may still experience presbyopia and require additional visual assistance for near tasks.

Contact lenses can be an effective solution for managing presbyopia after LASIK surgery. There are several types of contact lenses available to address presbyopia:

  • Multifocal contact lenses: These lenses have different zones to provide clear vision at various distances. They allow for simultaneous correction of both near and distance vision.
  • Monovision contact lenses: With monovision, one eye is corrected for distance vision, while the other eye is corrected for near vision. This technique can be achieved with either contact lenses or LASIK surgery.
  • Modified monovision: This approach involves correcting one eye for distance vision and the other eye for intermediate vision. It can be beneficial for individuals who frequently engage in tasks requiring clear vision at intermediate distances, such as computer work.
  • Bifocal or multifocal RGP lenses: Rigid gas permeable contact lenses can be specially designed as bifocal or multifocal lenses to provide clear vision at different distances.

The choice of contact lens option for presbyopia after LASIK depends on various factors, including your visual needs, lifestyle, and eye health. It is recommended to consult with your optometrist or eye surgeon who can assess your specific requirements and guide you toward the most suitable contact lens option for managing presbyopia effectively.

Types of Contacts You Can Wear After LASIK

There are different types of contact lenses you may be able to wear safely after LASIK surgery. The type you and your optometrist select will depend on factors such as your specific visual needs, any residual refractive errors, the shape and stability of your cornea post-LASIK, and your comfort preferences.

Patients may require specific types of contact lenses to address their individual needs after LASIK surgery. Here is a closer look at some of these options:

Contact Lens TypeSafe to Wear After LASIK?Reasons for Wearing
Rigid gas permeable (RGP)YesCorrecting refractive errors, astigmatism, and higher-order aberrations
Toric softYes (Minor astigmatism)Correcting minor astigmatism that remains after LASIK
CombinationYesProviding comfort and improved correction for those sensitive to RGP lenses
Post-hypermetropic repair and iatrogenic corneal ectasiaYesFitting lenses for unusual corneal reshaping after LASIK or addressing corneal conditions resulting from hypermetropia or corneal ectasia
ScleralYes (Unusual cases)Addressing vision problems with an unusually shaped cornea, as a last resort option
MultifocalYesManaging presbyopia and providing clear vision for both near and distance tasks
MonovisionYesCorrecting one eye for distance vision and the other eye for near vision
Modified monovisionYesCorrecting one eye for distance vision and the other eye for intermediate vision
Bifocal/multifocal RGPYesProviding clear vision at different distances for individuals with presbyopia

Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses are considered the preferred option for contact lenses after LASIK. They can effectively correct refractive errors, astigmatism, and higher-order aberrations. RGP lenses offer the advantages of durability, gas permeability, and accurate vision correction. However, the choice of contact lenses should be based on individual factors and professional recommendations. Consulting with an eye care professional is crucial to determine the most suitable option for your specific needs and eye health.

Cosmetic contacts: While cosmetic contact lenses can enhance your eye’s appearance, it’s crucial to prioritize eye safety after LASIK surgery. Consult with your eye care professional before considering cosmetic contact lenses to ensure they are obtained from a reputable source and fitted properly to minimize any potential risks.

Undercorrections: Wear Glasses Again or Get Another Surgery?

man staring at computer in office

It is rare for someone to undergo LASIK and need glasses or contact lenses to improve their vision in the weeks after the surgery. If you find your vision has not improved enough that you can perform daily tasks without wearing glasses, this may indicate you have an undercorrection. Discuss options with your eye surgeon to fix this problem.

After LASIK, you will have several follow-up appointments for weeks or months, so your doctor can monitor your vision as it improves and ensure that your cornea heals without scarring or inflammation. If you have an undercorrection, your eye doctor will catch it during the healing process. They can discuss different surgeries to adjust your refractive error further.

Refractive surgeries may include:

  • Another round of LASIK, if your corneas have enough tissue and there is enough refractive error left to correct.
  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) for thinner corneas or more minor adjustments.

In very rare cases, you may not be eligible for a second surgery. You will need to wear contacts or glasses to continue correcting your refractive error.

Again, these cases are very rare. The vast majority of people do not need corrective eyewear after LASIK.


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  2. Contact Lenses After LASIK or Other Refractive Surgery. (August 2018). All About Vision.
  3. Contact Lenses After LASIK. (October 2019). EyeWiki, American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
  4. LASIK Enhancement: When Additional Surgery Is Needed. (June 2019). All About Vision.
  5. LASIK – Laser Eye Surgery. (October 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  6. What Is the LASIK Success Rate. (October 2021). Refractive Surgery Council.
  7. Contact Lenses After LASIK. (November 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  8. Preoperative Assessment of Corneal and Refractive Stability in Soft Contact Lens Wearing Photorefractive Candidates. (November 2020). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

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