All contact lenses can temporarily change the shape and thickness of the cornea to some degree. It’s important to stop wearing your contacts for a period of time before LASIK surgery to allow the shape and thickness of your corneas to return to normal.
If your corneas are still changing from contact lens wear, important measurements at your pre-operative exam may be affected and you may have a higher risk of a poor visual outcome from LASIK.
Soft Contact Lenses
- You should stop wearing soft contact lenses at least two weeks prior to your pre-operative exam (and wear eyeglasses only until your LASIK surgery is performed).
- If you’re wearing toric soft contact lenses for the correction of astigmatism, stop wearing these lenses three week prior to your pre-operative exam. (Toric lenses are usually thicker than regular soft contact lenses and therefore may cause more changes to your cornea.)
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses
- Most LASIK surgeons recommend that you stop wearing RGP contact lenses at least one month prior to your pre-operative exam.
Hard Contact Lenses
- If you’re still wearing old fashioned, non-permeable hard contact lenses, you should stop wearing these lenses at least 3 to 4 months prior to your pre-operative exam for LASIK. (These lenses can significantly reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the cornea and therefore may cause more significant and longer-lasting corneal changes.)
Your surgeon (or co-managing eye doctor) will carefully evaluate your corneas at your pre-operative exam and make sure your eyes are healthy and stable prior to LASIK surgery. If it appears your corneas have not yet stabilized after contact lens wear, your LASIK surgery may be postponed to a later date.