Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 11:10 am
Are you tired of wearing glasses or putting up with the everyday inconvenience of removing, cleansing and sanitizing your contact lenses?
One choice is LASIK surgery. But if you’re not keen on the concept of having eye surgery or you are too young for the procedure (you must be 18 or older for LASIK), there’s a non-surgical option: constant wear contact lenses.
Benefits of Extended Wear Contact Lenses
Also called “extended wear lenses” or “30-day lenses,” continuous wear lenses are soft contact lenses that are approved by the FDA for approximately 30 successive days of constant day-and-night wear without elimination.
Like LASIK, extended wear contact lenses provide hassle-free great vision. So let’s consider the relative merits of each option in regards to safety, efficiency and cost.
Continuous wear contact lenses and laser eye surgery are safe for the frustrating majority of patients, however each brings some risk.
Using contact lenses increases your risk of eye infection, and this risk increases considerably if you wear your contacts when sleeping. For laser eye surgery, the primary threats are dry eye syndrome and visual disruptions such as glare and halos.
Constant wear contacts. Extended wear contact lenses first appeared in the United States in the 1980s. Nevertheless, many people who wore their lenses continually without removal for 30 days in a row began to experience eye infections. Within a few years, the FDA reduced the approved constant wearing time for prolonged wear lenses to an optimum of one week.
So what’s different now? In the late 1990s, a brand-new contact lens product — silicone hydrogel — was introduced. Silicone hydrogel contact lenses allow up to five times more oxygen to reach the cornea to keep it healthy, compared with regular soft contact lenses.
Today, numerous lens producers offer silicone hydrogel lenses that have been FDA-approved for as much as 30 days of constant wear. Still, overnight wear of contacts isn’t for everybody. And individuals who have had previous issues with contacts may not be good candidates for 30-day wear.
Laser vision correction. Inning accordance with the findings of a recent worldwide literature evaluation, more than 95 percent of individuals who opted to go through laser vision correction were pleased with their result and few experienced substantial LASIK complications.
New refractive surgery innovation introduced in the previous couple of years has significantly lowered vision problems after LASIK. Examples consist of:
- Femtosecond lasers that develop thinner corneal flaps
- Eye-tracking innovation that makes up for minor eye motions during surgery
- Wavefront-guided laser treatments that provide a customized laser treatment (custom-made LASIK) to treat the distinct optical imperfections of each eye
In addition, screening tools and strategies have actually enhanced, allowing surgeons to more easily identify LASIK candidates who may be most likely to experience post-surgical issues.
Nevertheless, nighttime glare and dryness remain a problem for some patients, at least for the first few months after surgery.
Both 30-day contacts and LASIK can produce exceptional vision quality for the right candidates. But what occurs if your vision modifications with time?
Continuous wear lenses. With 30-day contact lenses, you can find out practically instantly how sharp your vision will be. If you’d rather have no doubt whatsoever about your visual outcome, you are probably a much better candidate for prolonged wear contacts than laser vision correction.
Also, your contact lens prescription can quickly be adjusted down the road, must the requirement occur. And wearers entering their presbyopic years can switch to bifocal contact lenses, or they can use checking out glasses in combination with their contact lenses.
Laser vision correction. Since of advances in laser vision correction technology and increased experience amongst refractive cosmetic surgeons, the visual acuity experienced by LASIK patients is statistically much better than ever. The majority of patients attain 20/20 acuity or much better, according to numerous studies.
Nevertheless, a little percentage of LASIK patients might see some modification in their vision in time. This modification might need them to wear eyeglasses on a part-time basis for specific activities (e.g. driving at night). Sometimes, the modification in vision may be considerable enough that a second LASIK surgery (LASIK improvement) might be essential.
Likewise, LASIK cannot totally fix presbyopia, though a monovision procedure or other presbyopia surgery can assist. So if you’ve had LASIK, at some time after age 40 you still may require reading glasses to see plainly up close — though in some cases LASIK might be able to enhance your reading vision.
Continuous wear contacts. A 12-month supply of constant wear contacts will typically cost $250 to $300. An advantage of 30-day lens wear is that you nearly eliminate the cost of lens care services. Nevertheless, you must still keep a multi-purpose contact lens service helpful in case your lenses get dry or filthy and you have to remove them prior to completion of your normal 30-day using duration.
However bear in mind that your overall cost for contact lenses depends on how many years you wear them. Using an average annual cost of $275 annually for 30-day lenses, if you wear contacts for 30 years (age 20 to 50, for instance), your total lifetime contact lens cost is more than $8,000 — which is significantly greater than the cost of LASIK surgery.
Laser vision correction. The average cost of LASIK eye surgery in 2014 was approximately $2,100 per eye. A lot of surgeons provide LASIK funding with monthly payments to make the procedure affordable to a larger patient population.
It’s essential to note that you don’t eliminate your requirement for eye care and eyewear with laser vision correction. You still require routine eye tests to look for vision changes or symptoms of eye disease, and you should purchase a minimum of one pair of nonprescription sunglasses that obstruct 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays.
You should likewise acquire artificial tears for periodic dry eye symptoms and purchase least one pair of safety glasses to safeguard your eyes when playing sports or taking part in other possibly hazardous activities after LASIK surgery.
Which Way To Go?
Prior to you make your decision, get the impartial guidance of an optometrist who is open to both 30-day contacts and laser vision correction. If the doctor states you’re a great prospect for both, the option comes down to individual choice.
Your answers to the following questions can point you in the right direction:
- What is your tolerance for risk? Both 30-day contacts and LASIK surgery carry some degree of risk, however the rate of major complications is very low for both. Still, if you wish to avoid all possible risks associated with these vision correction alternatives, wearing glasses is your safest choice.
- How much convenience are you searching for? If even a once-a-month contact lens regimen is excessive problem, you might choose LASIK.
- How crucial is versatility? A contact lens prescription can easily be altered in the future to adapt to your changing vision needs.
- How will you eventually deal with presbyopia?
- Is up-front cash an aspect? Continuous wear contact lenses are less costly in the short-term, but LASIK may be less costly in the long term.
If you’re hesitant about either choice, there are two other choices:
Orthokeratology (or “ortho-k“). Like LASIK and constant wear contact lenses, ortho-k releases you from daytime contact lens use, though you need to use specially designed gas permeable contact lenses during the night when sleeping.
One-day non reusable contact lenses. Though these disposable contact lenses are suggested for everyday wear just, they provide the benefit of getting rid of everyday lens cleansing and disinfection. At the start of your day, you place on a brand-new pair of lenses; at the end of the day, you simply get rid of and discard them.
Anticipate to pay $20 to $30 per box of 30 one-day disposable contacts (although purchasing an annual supply, with discounts and rebates that are frequently offered, can lower the wearing cost for both eyes to about a dollar a day).
Though the annual cost of everyday disposable contact lenses is more costly than 30-day constant wear contacts, using everyday non reusable lenses appears to lower the risk of eye infections, compared to over night wear of 30-day lenses.
Also, some contact lens users can not tolerate overnight wear of 30-day lenses since their eyes are too dry. For these individuals, one-day disposable contact lenses that are gotten rid of and discarded prior to sleep are a much better option. Another choice might be daily or part-time wear of unique contact lenses for dry eyes.