Contacts After LASIK

Contacts After Lasik

While the goal of LASIK surgery is perfect vision, not every patient walks away seeing 20/20. Some may find themselves somewhat nearsighted or farsighted, others will see clearly but experience other complications that affect the quality of their vision, such as glare, halos, starbursts, or other distortions. If these vision problems interfere with daily activities, special contact lenses may be needed.

Why get contacts instead of additional surgery?
Additional LASIK surgery, also referred to as an "enhancement," is an option for many patients, and is sometimes provided free of charge by the surgeon. However, there are several reasons why a patient may be ineligible for additional surgery, or may opt for contact lenses instead:

  • Thin corneas or other physical issues make additional surgery impossible

  • Patient is experiencing vision problems which cannot be fixed with laser surgery

  • Patient does not want to risk further surgical complications

  • There are fees associated with the enhancement procedure that the patient cannot afford or does not wish to pay

  • Contacts may be useful even when the initial surgery went as planned. For example, a patient who had Monovision LASIK may occasionally use a contact lens in the near-vision eye when an activity requires the best possible distance vision.

Why are special lenses needed after surgery?
Laser surgery changes the surface of the cornea. Surface irregularities caused by LASIK cannot be smoothed out with standard soft contact lenses or eyeglasses. Gas permeable contact lenses or hybrid lenses are ideal for use after LASIK. When placed on the eye, these rigid contacts keep their shape. A pool of tears forms in the space between the contact and the cornea, and fills in any irregularities on the corneal surface. In this way, these lenses are able to correct aberrations that soft contacts cannot, because soft contacts conform to the shape of the eye.

Hybrid contacts combine a rigid center with a soft outer skirt. They are generally more comfortable to wear than standard gas permeable contacts, and require a shorter adjustment period.

LASIK surgery also alters the shape of the eye, so you will need to have a fitting done by a specialist. Measurements will be taken, and a special contact lens design may be required. This kind of fitting is more time consuming for the doctor, so be prepared to pay more than you would for a standard fitting.

Learn more about wearing contact lenses after LASIK surgery on our forums!