Are you thinking of undergoing LASIK so you can stop wearing contact lenses? The improvement in lifestyle is undeniable, and elsewhere on our website we are making available a calculator so you can see if there’s a reasonable financial benefit to not wearing your contacts.
There may also be a safety reason for giving up contact lenses, if you are prone to repeated infections. However, there has been some controversy surrounding a recent report from the U.S Centers for Disease Control, which the Refractive Surgery Alliance (of which Dr. Smith is a member) believes overstates the incidence of corneal infection – keratitis – resulting from contact lens wear.
The CDC report, “Estimated Burden of Keratitis- United States, 2010” (Vol63, No45, pp1027-1039) stated there are almost a million clinical visits from contact lens misuse. However, the report bases its findings on interpretation of billing data, which used codes specific to contact lens related keratitis in only 25% of the encounters.
Although keratitis can be caused by contact lens wear, and it is well established that overnight wear of contacts increases the risk of infection about fourfold, the statement in the CDC report that contact lens wear is the largest single risk factor for microbial keratitis is not supported by their data, only by an unrelated 1991 study cited late in the report.
Contact lenses remain an important solution for patients who wish to be glasses-free. The CDC’s report misses the mark by misinterpreting billing data, but perhaps does serve the purpose of getting out the message of proper contact lens use.
If you’re having a hard time with your contacts due to allergy, blepharitis, overuse, or poor habits, certainly those need to be addressed. We can help you optimize your ocular health to enable better contact lens wear. It’s also critical to optimize the surface of your eye if you are considering refractive surgery. Don’t just assume your eyes are “dry”, and make do.
If you’re interested in learning more about how LASIK eye surgery can improve your lifestyle and vision, schedule a free consultation with Triangle Eye Physicians, PA in Raleigh, NC.