If, like over half the population, you require vision correction for a problem like myopia (better known as near sightedness or close sightedness), hypermetropia (better known as long sightedness or far sightedness) or an astigmatism, there are three main options open to you: spectacles, contact lenses or laser eye surgery. Some people choose to wear glasses, which provide a corrective solution without side effects. However, if spectacles do not suit your lifestyle and you’re looking for an option that allows for a more active way of life, better peripheral vision and a natural ‘look’, you’ll need to weigh up the choice between contact lenses vs laser eye surgery.
Pros and cons of contact lenses
Contact lenses are a very common choice, with a wide range of different lenses available on the market. Here are some pros and cons to help you in your decision between contact lenses vs laser eye surgery.
- Removable and impermanent: You can take them out whenever you like! If you’re not yet sure which vision correction solution is the best for you, contacts are an option that you can easily experiment with.
- Coloured lenses: For a strikingly different look, you can wear coloured contacts that effectively change the colour of your irises.
- Advanced technology: These days, contact lenses can be used to correct even quite complicated visual problems; multifocal lenses catering for multiple prescriptions in one lens are available for those who need them.
- Hard to handle: Contact lenses can be awkward to put in and take out, and some people do not enjoy manipulating objects that come into direct contact with the eye. Special care needs to be taken to handle the lenses with clean hands.
- Dry eyes: Dry eyes are a common side effect of wearing contact lenses, because they limit the oxygen supply to the eye.
- Easy to lose: If you lose your contacts, or forget them when you stay away overnight, there’s not much you can do. You may find yourself carrying a pair of glasses around with you as backup.
Read more about contact lens problems and alternatives to contact lenses.
Pros and cons of laser eye surgery
Laser eye surgery is a quick and simple permanent procedure that produces life-enhancing results for patients of all ages.
- Permanent results: Once you have undergone laser eye surgery, your vision will be corrected for good. No more contacts to change daily!
- Quick to carry out: It takes around 15 minutes to carry out laser eye surgery in one eye.
- Short recovery time: The typical laser eye surgery recovery time can be as quick as 24 hours.
- Invasive: Laser eye surgery is a surgical procedure carried out on a healthy organ, so patients will need to consider whether they are comfortable with this. However, Allon Barsam’s ReLEX Smile laser technique is a minimally invasive alternative option to consider; a keyhole procedure that is safe, precise and gentle.
- More costly upfront: You may choose contact lenses over laser eye surgery due to the cost factor, put off by the higher initial cost of a laser eye surgery procedure. However, when the cost is analysed over one or two decades, it will eventually even out. Try out our LASIK calculator to work out exactly how much money laser eye surgery could save you over the years. If you paid for contact lenses over a period of 30 years, the chances are this would turn out to be the costlier option.
- Side effects: As with any surgical procedure, there is an element of risk in laser eye surgery. This can be reduced by choosing an experienced and reputable surgeon. We’ve written a blog about the potential LASIK surgery risks and how to assess these.
Want to know more in order to inform your decision on contact lenses vs laser eye surgery? Read more about laser eye surgery and how it is carried out elsewhere on the website.