Do I need to take a break from contacts before LASIK eye surgery?

So, you have finally decided to take the leap and be evaluated for LASIK surgery. Before LASIK instructions often generate common questions. Likely, if you are a contact lens wearer, one of those questions is “do I need to take a break from my contacts before LASIK surgery?” At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists our surgeons Dr. Nunnery and Dr. Mozayeni have one goal in mind and that is delivering every patient a long lasting optimal result and an outstanding patient experience. To do that, we require that you take a break from contacts both prior to the consultation and prior to LASIK surgery.

Here’s why:

  1. Contact lenses come in contact with the clear front surface of your eye known as the cornea. They stay in place because they hold themselves onto the cornea like a miniature suction cup, so you can imagine that over time this little suction cup can distort the natural shape of the cornea. The amount of distortion varies from person to person. However, even the most minor amount can lead to inaccurate data gathered during your thorough consultation and subsequent programming of the lasers. Sometimes this inaccurate information can even lead to incorrectly thinking someone is not a good candidate for LASIK surgery.
  2. Contact lenses are made of foreign material, meaning it is not something that is naturally supposed to come in contact with your body. This stimulates your natural immune system to create inflammation, which is the mechanism your body and eyes use to fight off infections. The amount of inflammation caused by contact lenses can be very minimal with no symptoms or quite significant with lots of symptoms often making contact lenses uncomfortable. No matter the amount of inflammation, it is important for this to be eliminated prior to your consultation so that our evaluation process is accurate. This is even more important before the LASIK procedure so that the healing process is normal and the outcome is optimal.
  3. Contact lenses are miniature incubators of bacteria and other infectious organisms. So just like any medical procedure, we want to minimize the risk of infection and this is just another reason to take a break from contacts before LASIK surgery.

So now that you understand why it is so important to take a break from your contacts before LASIK eye surgery, it’s time to answer our next question.

How long do I need to take a break from my contacts before LASIK surgery?

Providence Eye's guidelines before LASIK surgery:

  • If you wear soft contacts lenses take a one-week break.
  • If you wear toric contacts for astigmatism take a three-week break.
  • If you sleep in your contacts, stop sleeping in them 2 weeks prior to your LASIK surgery.

There is no doubt the inconvenience of taking a break from your contacts before LASIK surgery is totally worth it in the long run. You know what they say...short term pain for long term gain!

If you are ready to move on from the hassle of contacts and glasses and want to live more and see better, contact us for a free LASIK consultation with a LASIK surgeon today.