Coronavirus (COVID-19) Patient/Carer Notice
eyeMatters periodic news

Bringing you the latest news & resources in eye health

Article Article

Laser eye surgery and contact lenses – some facts


Laser eye surgery and contact lenses

If you regularly wear contact lenses and are considering laser eye surgery, this article is intended to offer you useful information.

Contact lenses and your initial laser eye surgery consultation

When you book your initial appointment for an assessment, you will be asked to discontinue wearing contact lenses before your consultation. Contact lenses can alter the shape of the cornea, and it may take a few weeks for your corneas to resume their natural shape. It’s important that your ophthalmologist can evaluate the true shape of your cornea, in order to offer you the best possible vision solution.

Although you will be told the exact amount of time to go ‘contact-less’ at the time of booking your appointment, the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) offers the following recommendations on their website:

  • Soft contacts – stop wearing these one to two weeks prior to your initial consultation.
  • Toric soft lenses or RGP lenses – stop wearing these for at least three weeks prior to your initial evaluation for laser eye surgery.
  • Hard lenses – stop wearing these for at least four weeks prior to your initial evaluation.

Of course, these are only a guide and some clinics and doctors may have slightly different suggestions. For example some patients only wear contact lenses and have no glasses and so it’s still worth having a consultation, removing your lenses on the day or even once at the clinic. This way the ophthalmologist can give you a good guide as to your suitability. If a decision is made that surgery would be appropriate then you will need to make arrangements to leave them out for a suitable period with testing done on the day of surgery. In the end there are no short cuts. It has to be right to maximise your chance of an excellent result.

Before laser eye surgery

Should you proceed with laser eye surgery, your corneas will need to be their natural shape at the time of the procedure. This period could be up to four weeks depending on the type of contact lenses you normally wear. You will be given instructions upon booking your laser eye surgery procedure.

Contact-lens-related problems

One common reason a person considers laser eye surgery is when, after wearing contact lenses for a number of years, they increasingly find that their eyes dry out throughout the day, or they experience increasing levels of discomfort. Some even find that continual wear of contact lenses can cause corneal abrasions, infections or corneal ulcers.

Often, simply changing the type of contact lens (as advised by your optometrist) will alleviate a problem. However, if the problem is ongoing, many people look to a vision correction procedure such as laser eye surgery.

More information on laser eye surgery and contact lenses

If you have any questions regarding wearing contact lenses and laser eye surgery, an ophthalmologist is best qualified to answer your questions. For more information on laser eye surgery, click here.

Enjoyed this article?

More articles on this subject
Laser eye surgery
Have a question?

IMPORTANT: If you are concerned about your eyes and require an urgent consultation, DO NOT use this form. Please call one of our clinics during office hours or contact your nearest emergency department.

coloured spectrum bar