How long do I need to stop wearing contact lens before LASIK evaluation?
I’m scheduled to have LASIK performed in a week and am now wondering if I need to be re-evaluated before surgery? In the initial evaluation, I was asked if I wore soft contact lenses and I said yes, but I neglected to tell the appointment person the brand and the type: SoftLens by Bausch and Lomb (one of them is Toric). I then was advised to stop wearing contacts 1 week before the evaluation which I had done a few weeks ago.
I have since discovered the recommendations for these timelines vary among doctors (most recommend at least 2-3 weeks of non-wear for Toric lenses), but according to the FDA (which I imagine I can trust), it is advisable to stop wearing “toric soft lenses at least 3 weeks before the initial exam.” I am now wondering if my initial exam results are invalid and if I should postpone surgery in favor of another evaluation to obtain “more accurate results” or does the 1-2 week difference not really matter? I am going to try to see about contacting the ophthalmologist about this but this could be a delicate conversation to have with her.
Wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time will result in changes to the front part of the eye (cornea).
Before the pre-LASIK assessment, patients are advised to lay off contact lens wear for a period of 3 days to 1 month depending on the type of contact lens they are using. This difference is due to the rigidity of the contact lens material.
At my practice, I will advise my patients to stop soft contact lenses (toric/non-toric) for at least 3 days and hard lenses (RGP) for at least 14 days.
From my past experience, I personally find that 3 days (for soft contact lenses) is enough for the cornea to return to its original state. However, if during the assessment, I detect any possible corneal changes, I will then advise my patient to stop contact lens wear for a longer duration before re-evaluating.
If your surgeon does not detect any corneal abnormalities during the initial evaluation, it is most likely that the results are accurate.