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Lasik Safer Than Contacts? Maybe, Maybe Not.

New risk analysis shows Lasik not always safer than contact lenses.


PORTLAND, Oregon, November 20, 2009, /Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery/  -- A controversial claim that Lasik is safer than contact lenses has been re-evaluated with less conclusive results.

An announcement in October 2006 by a professor of ophthalmology at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) that Lasik was statistically safer than contact lenses was met with much criticism. OHSU researchers looked at the issue anew and have found that depending upon major assumptions of key variables over 30 years, Lasik does not always appear to be safer than contact lenses.

The model's conclusions were highly sensitive to changes in several variables tested, especially risk for post-Lasik ectasia, risk for early vision loss after Lasik, and risk for contact lens–related keratitis (which correlated with type of lenses worn). Rigid gas-permeable lenses were safer than Lasik in every analysis. The safety of Lasik exceeded that for daily-wear soft lenses only when assumptions were most favorable to Lasik, whereas the safety of Lasik always exceeded that for extended-wear lenses except when assumptions were least favorable to Lasik.

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