When Should I Stop Wearing Contact Lenses Before LASIK?
Even the cleanest, best-fitting contact lenses reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the clear front surface of the eye (cornea), causing the potential for corneal swelling that could affect the accuracy of important measurements of your eyes prior to LASIK surgery.
Also, contact lens wear can affect the tear film, causing dry eyes; it also can affect corneal healing after LASIK surgery.
For these reasons, your eye doctor and/or LASIK surgeon will tell you to stop wearing contact lenses for a period of time prior to your LASIK procedure.
Individual surgeons may have different preferences regarding when you should discontinue contact lens wear prior to LASIK surgery. But generally, most surgeons say you should stop wearing soft contact lenses at least two weeks prior to surgery.
If you wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses, you should stop wearing these lenses for a longer period of time prior to LASIK — generally a month or longer.
Your eye doctor or LASIK surgeon will give you specific advice about when to stop wearing your contact lenses at your preoperative eye exam and/or LASIK consultation.
About the Author: Vance Thompson, MD, FACS, is the director of refractive surgery at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also is professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine, a leading researcher in technologies for laser and implant vision correction and a member of All About Vision's editorial advisory board.
Page updated September 2016