When to Stop Wearing Contacts before LASIK

By , August 6th, 2018

Choosing between lenses and glasses

If you’re considering LASIK, a doctor will often recommend that you stop wearing contacts in the months and weeks leading up to your surgery to ensure you get the best results.

It’s common knowledge that after undergoing LASIK, most patients will not need contacts or glasses to see clearly. However, regular contact lens wearers will likely be asked to switch to glasses for the period leading up to their surgery, as the consistent use of contacts can affect the shape of the eye.

What Contacts Do to Your Eyes

Contact lenses are a valuable tool for improving vision, but they can have some unexpected side effects. Because they cover the surface of the eye, contacts can reduce the amount of oxygen that the front of the cornea receives. This lack of oxygen often leads to mild swelling, which affects the shape and size of the cornea.

The good news is that this swelling usually doesn’t cause any discomfort or damage. It can, however, impact the accuracy of LASIK. Because LASIK actively changes the shape of the eye in order to improve vision, eyes need to be their natural shape for best results.

Wearing contacts right before your surgery date can also exacerbate the dryness that you’ll experience afterward, so it’s important to follow a doctor’s recommended timeline for retiring your contacts before the procedure.

How Your Contact Type Will Affect Your Surgery

Unsurprisingly, different contact lenses require different timelines. Most adults — some sources estimate as many as 90% of contact wearers — use soft contacts, which require less off time than hard lenses. That being said, it’s better to err on the side of more time off, and it’s not recommended that you sleep in your lenses in the days leading up to your appointment.

Those who wear rigid gas permeable lenses or hard lenses will have to take a slightly longer break. Typically, experts recommend taking three weeks to a month off, but everyone’s needs are different. The individualized instructions your doctor provides will always be your most reliable guide.

After LASIK

Most people who receive LASIK will be content to let their contact lenses become a thing of the past. In some cases, usually with age or a high starting prescription, a patient may still require contacts after LASIK. If this is the case, ask your doctor when you can start wearing contact lenses again after surgery.

The only way to truly know what’s best for your eyes is to talk with an eye doctor. If you’re considering LASIK, the experts at Kleiman Evangelista Eye Centers are here to help. Schedule your initial consultation with us today, either by calling or filling out our online form.

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