Risk of Infection Higher with Contacts than LASIK
May 25, 2017

Risk of Infection Higher with Contacts than LASIK

One of the most common fears about LASIK eye surgery is the risk of infection, which is extremely rare, but still crosses the mind of most LASIK patients. Ophthalmologists from the Hamilton Eye Institute in Tennessee recently published findings in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery that suggests long-term contact lens wearers are more at risk of vision loss from corneal infection than post-LASIK patients. The analysis centers around the incidence of microbial keratitis.

What is Microbial Keratitis and Why is it Dangerous?

Microbial keratitis is a bacterial or viral corneal infection, which if left untreated, can lead to vision loss. Contact lens wearers are at an elevated risk of this infection because of the necessity for consistent care such as changing out the lens pair on time and using proper hygiene to take them out and place them back in. Additionally, the longer you wear contacts, the higher your risk of developing this site-threatening infection. If you sleep in your contacts, your risk increases even more.

In some cases, contact lens patients have completely lost their vision, required a corneal transplant, and a few have even lost an eye to microbial keratitis. This infection is a very real danger, but again, it is rare.

LASIK patients have a small risk of microbial keratitis as well, but when compared over time, contacts should be considered a bigger concern. The comparison between contact lens wearers and LASIK patients who develop microbial keratitis is similar in the first year following LASIK but goes down significantly over time because LASIK is a one-time procedure with a one-time risk during recovery.

LASIK complications are unusual, and if you take care of your contacts properly, you’re less likely to develop this infection as well. LASIK eye surgery has given more than 28 million men and women across the world better vision, and the technology for laser vision correction continues to improve. The minute chance of infection isn’t a deal-breaker for most patients, especially when you compare the risk to contact lenses.

If you’re interested in LASIK or have questions about the LASIK procedure, please contact our experienced eye specialists in Northeastern Pennsylvania today at 855-204-6888 to schedule your LASIK consultation. The Northeastern Eye Institutes serve clients in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and surrounding Pennsylvania areas.