Move over contact lenses, LASIK is better

Washington: Good news for those who underwent LASIK ( laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) for correction of their vision, as a recent study has found that the rate of cornea infection is lower.

According to the University of Tennessee researchers, incidence of microbial keratitis, an infection of the cornea caused by bacteria or a virus, for contact lens wearers versus post-LASIK patients indicates that over time the infection rate for the contact lens wearers was higher than for those who had LASIK to correct their vision.

The findings indicated that if the surgery is assumed to have essentially a one-time risk for infection, after five years of extrapolation, contact lens wearers would show 11 more cases per 10,000 than those with surgery.

“Microbial keratitis is a relatively rare complication associated with contact lens use and LASIK postoperatively,” said the researchers.

“The risk for microbial keratitis was similar between patients using contact lenses at one year, compared with LASIK. Over time, the risk for microbial keratitis was higher for contact lens use than for LASIK, specifically with extended-wear lenses,” they explained.

Literature in the PubMed database between December 2014 and July 2015 was analyzed.

The results showed that after one year of daily soft-contact lens wear, there were fewer microbial keratitis cases than after LASIK, approximately two fewer cases per 10,000.

“Most contact lens wearers use them for decades, which means they have a much higher risk of corneal infection compared to the risk with LASIK,” said another researcher Aaron Waite.

Microbial keratitis can be devastating, since it can lead to vision loss.

Contact lens wear has been associated as a risk factor in the development of the condition.

Factors, including hygiene, lens type and history of use, contribute to the risk.

The research suggests, contact lenses carry a real risk of infection, some patients lost vision and have needed a corneal transplant, or even lost the eye.

There were cases where LASIK could have prevented this vision loss. LASIK does carry a rare risk of infection, however, it is a one-time risk compared to a continuous risk for infection in contact lens users.

The study is published in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery. (ANI)