LASIK Appealing Even to Those Satisfied With Contact Lenses

Lara C. Pullen, PhD

November 12, 2012

CHICAGO — A new study compared patient satisfaction with LASIK and contact lenses in order to establish an appropriate benchmark for LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis). Most patients who elect to have LASIK are satisfied with their contact lenses, investigators report.

Francis W. Price Jr, MD, from Price Vision Group in Indianapolis, Indiana, presented the results of his prospective, multicenter study survey at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2012 Annual Meeting. He began his presentation by describing a recent movement to compare LASIK results to those of the emmetropic nonoperated eye.

Dr. Price explained that this standard is not fair because there is no perfect method for correcting myopia. Both LASIK and contact lenses are functional and aesthetic. They also both entail some risk.

Together, he and Marianne O. Price, PhD, evaluated patient satisfaction by using an Internet-based patient survey. Patients were surveyed annually for 4 years and questioned about visual satisfaction, adverse effects, and complications.

The study included 1624 patients aged 18 to 60 years (median age, 34 years) who required vision correction. The population was 62% women.

The investigators recorded baseline refraction and LASIK treatment data. Patients were excluded from the study if they had keratoconus, abnormal topography, or multifocal corrections.

The 2 groups of the study were LASIK (n = 943) and contact lens (n = 681). Median spherical equivalent was –3.5 diopters (range, –11 diopters to 4 diopters).

Most of the patients who wore contact lenses wore extended- or daily-wear soft contacts.

When asked "Would you recommend contact lenses to a friend or family member?" 93% of patients said yes, 4% were unsure, and 3% said that they would not recommend contact lenses. Despite this high satisfaction rate, many patients opted for LASIK.

Karl G. Stonecipher, MD moderated the session and described the work as an "exciting new study." He also asked Dr. Price to highlight which result he found the most surprising. Dr. Price responded, "What I was really surprised with — most of the people wearing contact lenses are okay with them."

The survey also found that 6% of patients report that most or all of the time their eyes feel dry. In addition, 17% of patients reported that dry, irritated eyes limited their contact lens use. Dry eyes were more prevalent in the contact lens wearers who went on to have LASIK.

Dr. Price has disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr. Stonecipher has multiple consulting contracts but none appear to conflict with this research.

American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2012 Annual Meeting. Abstract PA016. Presented November 11, 2012.