Which is Safer, Contact Lenses or LASIK?

Posted by: Eye Health Northwest in General Eye Health on January 26, 2012

Which is Safer, Contact Lenses or LASIK?

Author: Dr. Scott Grealish

The answer is…

Contrary to popular belief, the answer for most people is Lasik. That’s not to say that contacts are particularly dangerous. When properly fit and worn they have been used by millions for decades with great success. That’s not news, but the revelation is that Lasik is in fact much safer than commonly perceived.

As always, a careful look at the numbers gives us the answer. Almost 15 million Lasik surgeries have been done over the past 20 years. Over 35 million wear contacts in the US alone, and they’ve been around since the 60’s. So at this point we know the statistics for risk of both very well, in fact there are literally thousands of scientific articles on the subject.

Recently, a very clever article written right here in Portland at my alma mater, the Casey Eye Institute, showed that the lifetime risk of serious vision loss was 3 ½ times greater for contact lens wearers than patients who had received Lasik.

Contacts are still very safe!

Now before you go and throw your contacts away and dig out those old glasses, realize that people themselves have a lot of control over their own chances of getting an infection, which was the main problem causing vision loss for contact lens wearers. It’s simple really:
 

  • Get fit by a contact lens specialist (check the credential of ours!)
  • Use them exactly as prescribed (most people don’t)
  • Don’t sleep in your contacts (really)
  • Take them out and call your doctor ASAP if you have trouble (we’re on call 24/7)

Lasik is very safe!

Now for those who are still worried about the risks of Lasik, the reality is people have a lot of control over their risk with Lasik as well, since almost all Lasik problems (and they are rare these days) can either be avoided or resolved if you are in the right place and your surgeon is there for you. Again, it’s pretty simple:
 

  • Go to an established clinic with a long track record of success.
  • Make sure your surgeon actually practices in Portland (many fly into town just for the day of surgery, then leave!)
  • Ask them for their exact results and compare them to the best you can find. (check out the Visx FDA data)
  • Remember that in marketing (including Lasik ads etc.) they say “Perception is Reality”. I say that in Lasik, “ Results are Reality”.

Which is right for you?

So in the end, does it really matter if Lasik is 3 ½ times safer than contacts? For most people they are both so safe that with good decision making it would be hard to go wrong with either. At EyeHealth Northwest, we think the safest policy is to educate our patients on all their options and to provide those services at the highest level possible. We back that up with accessibility anytime, anywhere in Portland since 1954. Visit one of our specialists to get the best advice on what’s right for your eyes.


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Aloha (OES)
18345 SW Alexander St,
Suite A
Aloha, OR 97003
(503) 642-2505 see more
Gresham
24601 SE Stark St.
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Troutdale, OR 97060
(503) 255-2291 see more
Hillsboro
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Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 846-9400 see more
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9 Monroe Parkway, Suite 160
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
(503) 636-2551 see more
Milwaukie
11086 SE Oak St
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 656-4221 see more
Mt. Tabor
5935 SE Division St.
Portland, OR 97206
503 777-5546 see more
Newberg (OES)
2318 Portland Rd, Suite 300
Newberg, OR 97132
(503) 538-1341 see more
North Portland
3246 N. Lombard
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 285-1671 see more
Northwest Portland
1955 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 227-2020 see more
Oregon City
1306 Division St
Oregon City, OR 97045
(503) 656-4221 see more
Peterkort
9555 SW Barnes Rd.
#201 (2nd floor)
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 227-2020 see more
Providence
5050 NE Hoyt St., #245
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 255-2291 see more
Providence Portland (OES)
5050 NE Hoyt St., Suite 445
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 231-0166 see more
Providence St. Vincent (OES)
9135 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 961
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 292-0848 see more
Southeast Portland
10819 SE Stark St,
Portland, OR 97216
(503) 255-2291 see more
Sunnyside
12050 SE Stevens Rd, Suite 100
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(503) 783-3300 see more
Tigard
15298 SW Royalty Parkway
Tigard OR 97224
(503) 227-2020 see more
Wilsonville
29250 SW Town Center Loop W
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(503) 582-0000 see more
Westside Surgery Center
13240 SW Pacific Hwy
Portland, OR 97223
(503) 639-6571 see more
EyeHealth Eastside Surgery and Laser Center
12050 SE Stevens Rd.
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(971) 206-6100 see more

Our Locations

Aloha (OES)
18345 SW Alexander St,
Suite A
Aloha, OR 97003
(503) 642-2505 see more
Gresham
24601 SE Stark St.
Suite 245
Troutdale, OR 97060
(503) 255-2291 see more
Hillsboro
6111 NE Cornell Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 846-9400 see more
Lake Oswego (OES)
9 Monroe Parkway, Suite 160
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
(503) 636-2551 see more
Milwaukie
11086 SE Oak St
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 656-4221 see more
Mt. Tabor
5935 SE Division St.
Portland, OR 97206
503 777-5546 see more
Newberg (OES)
2318 Portland Rd, Suite 300
Newberg, OR 97132
(503) 538-1341 see more
North Portland
3246 N. Lombard
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 285-1671 see more
Northwest Portland
1955 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 227-2020 see more
Oregon City
1306 Division St
Oregon City, OR 97045
(503) 656-4221 see more
Peterkort
9555 SW Barnes Rd.
#201 (2nd floor)
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 227-2020 see more
Providence
5050 NE Hoyt St., #245
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 255-2291 see more
Providence Portland (OES)
5050 NE Hoyt St., Suite 445
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 231-0166 see more
Providence St. Vincent (OES)
9135 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 961
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 292-0848 see more
Southeast Portland
10819 SE Stark St,
Portland, OR 97216
(503) 255-2291 see more
Sunnyside
12050 SE Stevens Rd, Suite 100
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(503) 783-3300 see more
Tigard
15298 SW Royalty Parkway
Tigard OR 97224
(503) 227-2020 see more
Wilsonville
29250 SW Town Center Loop W
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(503) 582-0000 see more
Surgery Centers

Westside Surgery Center

13240 SW Pacific Hwy
Portland, OR 97223
(503) 639-6571 see more

EyeHealth Eastside Surgery and Laser Center

12050 SE Stevens Rd.
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(971) 206-6100 see more