Three-Year Longitudinal Survey Comparing Visual Satisfaction with LASIK and Contact Lenses

Ophthalmology. 2016 Aug;123(8):1659-1666. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.04.003. Epub 2016 May 18.


Purpose: To assess patient satisfaction and perceived outcomes with different methods of refractive error correction through annual surveys administered over a 3-year period.

Design: Prospective, longitudinal, parallel-group, multicenter survey.

Participants: A total of 1800 subjects, aged 18 to 60 years, who had LASIK or continued using contact lenses.

Methods: Twenty sites across the United States enrolled subjects who completed a study-specific baseline survey during a contact lens examination or while being evaluated as a candidate for LASIK. Links to follow-up surveys were emailed annually for 3 years. Between-group differences were assessed by analysis of variance, and associations were assessed by logistic multivariate regression.

Main outcome measures: Visual satisfaction.

Results: Of 1800 subjects, 694 (39%) comprised the control group who continued contact lens wear, 819 (45%) wore contacts at baseline and had LASIK, and 287 (16%) wore glasses at baseline and had LASIK. Most contact lens users had worn them successfully ≥5 years. The proportion expressing strong satisfaction with their current vision correction method decreased from 63% at baseline to 54% at year 3 in the contact lens control group, whereas 88% of former contact lens wearers and 77% of former glasses wearers were strongly satisfied with LASIK at year 3. Patients 40 years of age or younger when they had LASIK were somewhat more likely to be strongly satisfied than older patients. LASIK significantly reduced difficulties with night driving and nighttime visual disturbances among former contact lens users and former glasses users. The proportion with dry eye symptoms at 1, 2, or 3 years after LASIK was not significantly increased relative to baseline contact lens wear but was significantly increased relative to baseline glasses use, consistent with many glasses users having tried and abandoned contact lenses because of latent dry eye problems. Compared with continued contact lens wear, LASIK significantly reduced the self-reported rates of eye infections, ulcers, and abrasions each year.

Conclusions: Compared with contact lens wear, current LASIK technology improved ease of night driving, did not significantly increase dry eye symptoms, and resulted in higher levels of satisfaction at 1, 2, and 3 years follow-up.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contact Lenses*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hyperopia / physiopathology
  • Hyperopia / therapy*
  • Keratomileusis, Laser In Situ*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myopia / physiopathology
  • Myopia / therapy*
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology
  • Vision Disorders / therapy*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*