Laser Eye Surgery: The Freedom to Live the Way You Want
If you’ve grown tired of prescription glasses or don’t want to wear them, you may be torn between choosing contacts or laser eye surgery. In this article, we will reveal the pros and cons of all the options so that you can choose the choice that you feel most comfortable with, best suits your lifestyle, and offers you the most freedom.
If you are experiencing problems with your vision, you are certainly not alone—there are at least 2.2 billion people on the planet  who experience similar issues, be it myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. However, the good news is, you can correct your vision by using prescription glasses, contact lenses, or laser eye surgery.
Essentially, the choice will depend on your needs and preferences, but if you want to get to the root of the problem, forego wearing glasses and contact lenses, and enjoy a more active lifestyle worry-free, then laser eye surgery is the answer.
Laser eye surgery vs. glasses: Pros and cons you should know
Reading glasses have been around for centuries. Their origin dates to the Middle Ages, when an Arab scientist named Alhacén laid the foundations for the invention of the first “reading stones”. In fact, those first plano-convex lenses that were used as magnifying glasses evolved into today’s glasses.
Although the invention is very old, prescription glasses are still around because they are a relatively inexpensive, safe, and fast way to correct vision problems. Glasses even have a protective function since they act as a barrier that prevents air, dust, and other small particles from entering the eyes and damaging them. In addition, they serve as a tool that adapts to all types of people and vision problems, without notable side effects.
In addition, glasses are also a more cost-effective alternative to laser eye surgery, but only if the initial cost is taken into account because in the long term, their cumulative cost over one’s lifetime can exceed that of surgery, especially considering how glasses tend to break and get lost.
However, the main drawback of glasses is that they can be limiting. Wearing glasses can be incompatible with the practice of extreme sports and even some types of work. They also tend to cause small daily inconveniences that, in some cases, can represent a risk, such as when they fog up while you’re behind the wheel, not to mention glasses creating inopportune blind spots.
At the end of the day, glasses are a temporary solution for correcting poor eyesight. When you compare laser eye surgery vs. glasses, the former fixes the problem at the source, so that you can continue to live life with greater freedom of movement to do the activities you love, which is more difficult to do with glasses on.
Contacts or laser eye surgery: Advantages and disadvantages
Contact lenses have become very popular in recent decades. The idea for the first lenses came from Leonardo da Vinci, and several centuries passed before they were first manufactured to correct refractive errors. These days, contact lenses’ popularity is due to their efficiency and discreet appearance.
When we look at contact lenses vs. glasses, the former improve visual acuity and field of vision by fitting the eye and deflecting light directly into it, thereby correcting one’s vision with greater precision. Therefore, if you have previously worn prescription glasses and start to use contact lenses, your vision is likely to improve.
Obviously, by wearing contact lenses, you’ll enjoy more freedom than with glasses. They are also invisible, making them compatible with any style. However, contact lenses also have their own limitations. Activities involving water, such as swimming, water sports, going to the sauna or common tasks such as showering can be a problem for those who wear contact lenses.
Moreover, some people never manage to adapt to contact lenses. Inserting contacts and taking them out can be difficult for some individuals, not to mention that you can easily lose them. Also, contact lenses can end up being more expensive in the long run than laser eye surgery.
In addition, bacterial contamination of contact lenses can result in eye infections. Since they are placed directly on the eye, they also disrupt the interaction between tears and the surface cells of the cornea, which can lead to further irritation and dehydration.
As a result, contact lenses can cause redness, irritation, and dryness, even if you are very meticulous about hygiene. In the most serious cases, they can pose a risk to one’s vision, such as when an infection of the cornea occurs.
According to the British Contact Lens Association, approximately 6 out of 100,000 people who wear contact lenses suffer from vision loss each year . This risk increases with long-term contact lens use and poor hygiene. Furthermore, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has also issued a warning that sleeping with your contact lenses in can increase the risk of eye infections by 6 to 8 times because the eye dries out and becomes more vulnerable to germs . So, are contact lenses bad for your eyes? No, but you must be careful when using and handling them, making sure to always practice good hygiene.
In contrast, vision loss as a result of laser eye surgery is extremely rare, especially when a good surgeon is chosen. While laser eye surgery also has some risks associated with it, similarly to any other surgical procedure, its minimally invasive nature and the state-of-the-art technology used greatly minimise this risk.
In fact, according to a study carried out by the Cornea Research Foundation of America, it was revealed that satisfaction among people who wear contact lenses decreases after three years, while the risk of suffering from dry eyes increases. By comparison, those who had laser eye surgery were still satisfied with the results and reported fewer eye infections, ulcers, and abrasions than contact lens wearers .
Laser surgery: The way to gain visual freedom
Of course, laser eye surgery is not the perfect solution for everyone. Some people are not good candidates for this procedure, sometimes due to their age, certain medical conditions, or eye problems. However, it is the ideal option for those who do not tolerate contact lenses or have very high eyeglasses prescriptions.
Unlike prescription glasses or contacts, laser eye surgery is not just a temporary vision adjustment but a permanent solution. Changes to the structure of the eye eliminate refractive error, so that you can enjoy unrestricted, clear vision over the long-term.
“Laser vision correction is safer, faster and more precise than it has ever been – we are living in great times for eye surgery” says Sheraz Daya, founder of Centre for Sight and credited with being the first person to perform Lasik laser eye surgery in the UK.
Laser eye surgery frees you from all the inconveniences and limitations of glasses and contact lenses. After this procedure, you can forget about running to the nearest optician to replace your glasses that have broken or the contact lenses that you have lost. In addition, although laser eye surgery initially requires a higher outlay, in the long term, it is usually the most cost-effective and convenient way of correcting your vision.
Best of all, after laser eye surgery, you can get on with your life without any limitations. This includes practising all kinds of sports, going to the beach, driving, and travelling without having to worry about glasses or contacts. Not only can this procedure bring you comfort and freedom, but it will also improve your quality of life. In addition to effectively correcting refractive errors such as farsightedness, near-sightedness, and astigmatism, laser eye surgery can also be used to alleviate the symptoms of presbyopia. Therefore, after laser eye surgery, you may no longer need your reading glasses.
The procedure itself is usually relatively quick, while the discomfort is mild and the recovery process lasts only a few days. However, although laser eye surgery is one of the safest surgical procedures in the world, it is not without risk.
Night vision problems, dry eyes, and blurred vision are some of the most common side effects, although they are generally restricted to the early postoperative period and gradually improve as the days go by. Other laser eye surgery risks include temporary dry eye, over or under-correction, corneal ectasia, and flap-related complications. However, when treated by the right hands in the right place, they are rare and can almost always be corrected with eye drops or additional surgery.
In any case, it is important to remember that eyesight is one of your most valuable senses, especially for maintaining an active lifestyle. Therefore, if you decide to undergo laser eye surgery, choosing the best eye surgeon is extremely important. It is essential to choose someone with experience in these types of procedures and who keeps up to date on new techniques and scientific discoveries. A good surgeon will not only thoroughly examine your vision, but will also propose the best customised solution for your visual problem that fits into the lifestyle you want to lead.
- (2019) World report on vision. WHO.
- Infection and contact lenses. BCLA.
- Churchill, J. (2018) Why You Should Never Sleep in Your Contact Lenses. AAO.
- Price, M. O. et. Al. (2016) Three-Year Longitudinal Survey Comparing Visual Satisfaction with LASIK and Contact Lenses. Ophthalmology; 123(8): 1659-1666.