The Benefits of LASIK vs. Contacts and Glasses

LASIK:
It's the latest and greatest, right? Life without glasses not so bad either, right? Unless you've been living in a cave you must have heard of laser surgery or LASIK. It's the newest and fastest growing tool eye surgeons now use to correct visual disturbances including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and more!

Many people with contacts and glasses like them; others have waited a long time for technology to come up with a way to change their lives… to give them back their freedom. Some people are still on the fence waiting for the technology to be absolutely perfected. For many LASIK surgery is the tool they have been waiting for. BUT…

Doing Your Homework:
Before you jump into the surgeon's chair, you better know what lies ahead. Let's compare LASIK surgeries to contemporary or traditional contacts and eyeglasses to see which you might prefer. Your answer may (or may not) surprise you.

How They Measure Up:
Perhaps you have worn glasses your whole life and want to try something new, but are not at all interested in contacts. In fact, the very idea of inserting a contact into your eye gives you the willies. Well, don't worry, you are not alone.

Alternatively, perhaps you are a contact lens wearer that is tired of spending money on disposables. You probably have a pair of back-up eyeglasses, but decide you'd rather not wear them. OK, that's just fine. So what do you do? LASIK may present new alternatives for those formerly resigned to wearing glasses or contact lenses. EVEN people with hard to correct vision problems may benefit from LASIK. While you may not be able to achieve perfect vision, you might dramatically improve the quality of your vision, and thus your life in general.

For some, while contacts or glasses can be fun, they may also prove a burden. How can that happen? Let's talk more about the pros and cons of each and you'll soon decide whether LASIK would benefit you and your lifestyle.

Eyeglasses:
For many, eyeglasses are fun. They are a way to enhance one's appearance and a relatively inexpensive way to express one's personality. If lost, they are generally replaceable. You can mix them up and change them to match your mood, your outfit and your budget. Many people buy eyeglasses frames with clear plastic lenses to spice up a jacket.

Naturally, there are people that do not feel wearing eyeglasses is of any benefit. Naturally, as you expect, there are of course, some cons to wearing glasses. Glasses for example, distort the form and size of objects you may look at. So, while you may "think" you are seeing clearly, you are only seeing through the limited frame of your glasses. Many people with glasses can't see beyond the periphery of the frames they select.

Eyeglasses can improve your appearance, but they might also detract from it or highlight a big nose. They can make your eyes appear larger than they are, so you come out with a raccoon like effect. Unless you pay for the right lenses, you may experience glare. This is one of the worst side effects of wearing eyeglasses. If you don't remember to take them off before a photo shoot, you will look like your eyes are nothing but bright white orbs!

Some frames are heavy, though you can buy lightweight frames. For those with thick lenses however, heavy frames may be the only option, gradually leaving a permanent imprint on the bridge of one's nose. Eyeglasses are also subject to wear and tear and do eventually need to be replaced. Think about how many times you sat on your glasses by mistake! If you haven't count yourself lucky, because sooner or later someone always does, even if you don't personally smash them.

LASIK Benefits

Contact Lenses:
The greatest advantage contact lenses have over glasses is they are convenient and allow the wearer to retain their natural appearance. That means you don't have to worry about looking bug eyed or getting headaches from wearing thick lenses.

They don't sit on the face, so if you have a large nose you don't have to worry about your eyeglasses enhancing your nose even more than usual. Contacts move with your eyes, so you can get away with wearing them without someone necessarily knowing you even need them. They can also be fun. You can now buy contacts in multiple colors, to change the color or shape of your eye. This is perhaps the greatest benefit for people that want to make wearing contacts fun and engaging. Think about it… you can be green eyed one day and blue the next!

Those wearing contacts however, are prone to infection. You are much more likely to get an infection from wearing contacts than you are from wearing glasses. You are probably less at risk for infection if you have LASIK too, depending on the type of LASIK surgery you elect.

Another problem with contacts is you have to care for your contacts religiously. If you don't you will either break them or irritate your eye, causing an infection! Some people find wearing contacts irritating. There are others that try as they might, just can't get the dang things in their eye, so what is a person supposed to do?

As you can see, there are pros and cons with everything. Some people will simply never be able to wear contacts because they find them irritating or they simply won't correct their vision enough to make purchasing them worthwhile. Which leads us to the next option; sizing up contacts and eyeglasses to LASIK. You know; laser eyes!

Contacts and Glasses Vs. Lasik
The key difference between LASIK and contacts or glasses is LASIK improves vision so the user doesn't have to worry about prescription lenses most of the time (MOST not all of the time). At the very least, LASIK can correct vision so that visual disturbances are minimal. That means for all the bulky eyeglass wearers out there, there is hope you can correct your vision well enough to you can finally buy the featherweight glasses you've always wanted.

They'll make you look more distinguished, right?

Here are some real advantages of LASIK over corrective lenses:

  • Glasses limit peripheral vision, whereas LASIK improves overall vision. So, if LASIK works well, you will be able to see well without having to worry about missing something that falls outside your primary visual field.


  • LASIK typically improves vision more precisely than glasses or contact lenses can, especially when the patient received custom procedures that map the exact contours of the eye. That means you may walk away from the procedure with better vision than someone that has never had to wear corrective lenses!


  • Certain LASIK procedures can help address higher or lower order aberrations of the eye, resulting in improved vision. Thanks to modern technology, even when things go wrong with the eye, LASIK can often make them right!


  • LASIK is good for those that have moderate vision problems and want the security of being able to see without wearing lenses or eyeglasses. Let's face it; everyone has lost a pair of glasses or a contact at some point in their life; what do you do if you don't have a spare handy? Do you just go blind? No, you go LASIK.


  • LASIK over time will probably save you more money than you spend. Think about the number of eyeglasses you buy over time or the pairs of contacts; you may have already spent more than you might if you just used LASIK to improve your vision. Then you can just keep a pair of glasses or contacts on stand by as a fond memento of times long past.

That said there are some downsides to LASIK. There are relatively few complications associated with wearing contact lenses, and almost none associated with wearing glasses. LASIK surgery however, does come with some risks. The most commonly reported side effects include long lasting dry eyes.

You should also note that LASIK is surgery to your eye; that means your surgeon will permanently change the shape of your eye. The idea is to help you achieve perfect or near perfect vision. Sometimes however, you suffer complications that actually distort your vision in a way that cannot be corrected, even if you go back to wearing glasses.

Some patients are at risk for corneal abrasion or other problems. Some studies suggest LASIK surgery may contribute to higher order aberrations, the very ones it sometimes corrects interestingly enough.

Still other patients may experience under or over correction. That means you will probably have to pay for another LASIK procedure to fix the over or under correction and hope your surgeon gets it right the next time.

Fortunately, by selecting a competent surgeon and carefully selecting the type of LASIK procedure you undergo, most of the time you can reduce your risk of complication to the point where the benefits of surgery outweigh any risks. Most people report they are happy with the results of LASIK. For many LASIK has been a lifesaver, allowing them to participate in activities they may never have had they not treated their eyes to surgery.

As with anything in life, you have to consider your personal health, your medical history and your love or hate of wearing lenses. This will help you decide whether LASIK is right for you. If I had the money, I would bank on it. AFTER finding a really good surgeon that is…

Does LASIK Save Money?
When it comes to cost, LASIK is superior to both glasses and contacts, because while you may pay more for surgery initially, over your lifetime you will end up paying less. The average person for example, who wears glasses, will likely own several different pairs during their lives. They may also need to replace lenses periodically because of damage or a changing prescription. They may want to combine contacts with their glasses. They may need prescription sunglasses. You can get the cheapest pair of glasses or contacts available. Most people with moderate vision problems however, can spend up to $400 or more on a good pair of glasses. Over time, this will likely add up to far more than the initial $1-3k investment in LASIK surgery.

HOWEVER, (there is always a but), there are cases where you need multiple laser procedures because the first surgery leads to complications. When this is the case you may spend more than you intended. One way to prevent the shock that comes with paying for another surgery is insurance. Find out if your insurance provides any relief or assistance with payments resulting from less than ideal outcomes. Alternately, you can talk to your surgery center about your post surgical options.

Most LASIK specialists are more than happy to convert the world of contact lens and eyeglass wearers to the world of perfected laser vision…

Would you rather have LASIK surgery or contacts and glasses? Comment below.

References:

Learn more about the benefits of LASIK eye surgery on our forums!

Comments

Thanks for the lasik benefits article. Very informative. This really help me decided if I should get the surgery.

One major benefit for me would be not to wear contact lenses! I am so over putting them on everyday and taking them off at night. However, I am a little scared of the surgery. Something about having a laser in my eye freaks me out. Anyone had Lasik here? Did you have a good or bad experience?