Priyanka Ray, M.A., B.Ed.

Digital Strategist, Vision Science Academy


Vision Science Academy Exclusive


Role of LASIK vs. Contact Lens in Myopia

The LASER-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) procedure is one of the most performed refractive surgeries today. It is used to correct short-sightedness or myopia since it can help rectify the exaggerated curvature of the cornea. Ongoing advancements in this technique have made it drastically safer and more precise. Alternatively, contact lenses (CL) have been widely utilized for the correction of visual errors such as myopia as well as for cosmetic purposes, while their scope of applications continues to expand indefinitely. The benefits and risks of these two different measures have long been debated, and this article also aims to review the relative pros and cons of LASIK and CL in their ophthalmic application.

LASIK in Myopia: Pros and Cons

Laser surgery offers several long-term advantages. In contrast to CL, they provide a permanent solution to myopic individuals. Moreover, LASIK can provide a complete sense of freedom since CL wearers always need to clean and change their lens repeatedly. In addition, the complications of LASIK are relatively short-lived while those due to CL wearing tend to be more recurrent and aggressive. A relatively minor risk of vision loss has been reported following LASIK among 66 cases per 10,000 population (0.07%) (Wu et al., 2020).

There are a few potential drawbacks for this eye surgery. One of the commonest complications occurring in the milieu of LASIK is dryness of the eyes. This problem mostly arises due to transection of the sensory nerve fibres of cornea (Ambrósio, Tervo, & Wilson, 2008). Postoperative glaring has also been reported as a minor complication (~5% of patients), but its risk tends to reduce in the latter months after surgery. Furthermore, up to 2% of surgeries also become complicated secondary to corneal flap-related issues (Estopinal & Mian, 2016).

CL in Myopia: Pros and Cons

Wearing a CL provides a better alternative to those who dislike wearing glasses. In contrast to spectacles, CL has an ability to conform to the curvature of cornea which then provides a better field of vision. Many novel varieties of CL have been introduced which also allow a delivery of therapeutic agents (Maulvi, Soni, & Shah, 2016). Additionally, CL has also been considered safe for corneal healing while bandage contact lens has been used to provide symptomatic pain relief.

A common problem faced by the CL users is that the lens needs to be cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis. Besides this minor inconvenience, contact lens-related complications are common among its users. A study conducted by Forister et al. found that up to half of CL users face at least one of the following CL-related complications: papillary conjunctivitis, chemosis of the conjunctiva as well as abrasion, ulceration, oedema, and neovascularization of cornea (Forister et al., 2009; Suchecki, Donshik, & Ehlers, 2003).


This brief narrative review concludes that although both contact lenses and LASIK yield successful results in the correction of myopia, both options possess their own pros and cons. Their usage is mainly governed by the consumer’s choice, their effectiveness, longevity, and therapeutic quality.



Ambrósio, R., Jr., Tervo, T., & Wilson, S. E. (2008). LASIK-associated dry eye and neurotrophic epitheliopathy: pathophysiology and strategies for prevention and treatment. J Refract Surg, 24(4), 396-407. doi:10.3928/1081597x-20080401-14

Estopinal, C. B., & Mian, S. I. (2016). LASIK Flap: Postoperative Complications. Int Ophthalmol Clin, 56(2), 67-81. doi:10.1097/iio.0000000000000107

Forister, J. F. Y., Forister, E. F., Yeung, K. K., Ye, P., Chung, M. Y., Tsui, A., & Weissman, B. A. (2009). Prevalence of Contact Lens-Related Complications: UCLA Contact Lens Study. 35(4), 176-180. doi:10.1097/ICL.0b013e3181a7bda1

Maulvi, F. A., Soni, T. G., & Shah, D. O. (2016). A review on therapeutic contact lenses for ocular drug delivery. Drug Delivery, 23(8), 3017-3026. doi:10.3109/10717544.2016.1138342

Suchecki, J. K., Donshik, P., & Ehlers, W. H. (2003). Contact lens complications. Ophthalmol Clin North Am, 16(3), 471-484. doi:10.1016/s0896-1549(03)00056-7

Wu, Y. T., Ho, A., Naduvilath, T., Lim, C., Carnt, N., Keay, L. J., . . . Stapleton, F. (2020). The risk of vision loss in contact lens wear and following LASIK. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt, 40(2), 241-248. doi:10.1111/opo.12663