Weighing up laser eye surgery against wearing contact lenses

23 October 2012

People who are suffering with problems with their eyesight have plenty of options open to them, though two of the most common strategies for correcting vision is either to purchase contact lenses or undergo laser eye surgery.

Both solutions have many benefits to eye health, with Mr CT Pillai, medical director of Harley Street vision correction clinic Advanced Vision Care, weighing up the arguments for laser eye surgery.

Meanwhile, Dr Catharine Chisholm, president of the British Contact Lens Association, has delivered high praise from the simple-to-use design of contact lenses.

Benefits of laser eye surgery

According to Mr CT Pillai, laser eye surgery has many reasons attached to it which allows it to be deemed "the best solution for treating a wide range of vision problems".

For one, the medical expert pointed out that by opting for this form of vision correction, people can enhance their eyesight while also taking away the need to wear glasses or contact lenses.

The latter point is of particular importance when it comes to people with bad eyesight who have a keen interest in taking part in sport.

Participating in high-octane pursuits while wearing glasses, for example, always runs the risk that the eyewear will end up slipping off the face and smashing to the ground. Likewise, it is frowned upon to wear contact lenses when going swimming but some people may find their vision too blurred otherwise.

It is not just the pursuit of sport where the benefits of laser eye surgery shines through. Mr Pillai explained: "Vision correction treatment is often recommended to older people as an alternative to wearing varifocal glasses because it eliminates the sense of imbalance caused by varifocals and greatly reduces the risk of falling."

As such, the expert pointed out that laser eye treatment can be a medical necessity in some cases as much as it is a highly desirable way of correcting vision problems.

Benefits of wearing contact lenses

Dr Catharine Chisholm has pinpointed three main advantages of people opting to correct issues with their vision by wearing contact lenses on a daily basis.

To begin with, the medical professional acknowledged that many of the people who she knows who use the lenswear feel more confident in their appearance and their abilities.

Naturally, there are also visual benefits attached to opting for contact lenses. One of the main advantages where this is concerned is that the eyewear will always follow a person's eyes when they move them around – ensuring fully corrected vision no matter what direction is viewed.

Keeping on the topic of visual advantages, Dr Chisholm pointed out: "Like spectacles, they can correct short sight (myopia), long sight (hyperopia), astigmatism (a focusing error of the eye that distorts vision) and the age-related need for reading spectacles (presbyopia)."

The third main benefit of wearing contact lenses, according to the medical expert, is to "avoid those annoying situations when condensation causes glasses to steam up or raindrops blur vision".

With this issue in mind though, Rosie Gavzey, director of the Eyecare Trust, was keen to stress that contact lens wear can become uncomfortable when worn in cold temperatures, harsh winter winds or around central heating.

"To minimise discomfort always ensure you follow your optometrist's or manufacturer's advice on wearing time restrictions and contact lens care, as this will ensure the lenses are better able to conduct oxygen, reduce any irritation and increase comfort," Ms Gavzey advised to prevent this problem.

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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