A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery compared the incidence of the eye infection in contact lens wearers and patients following laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery.
The results revealed that the rate of microbial keratitis was higher in contact lens wearers over time compared to LASIK patients. Extended-wear contact lenses were associated with a particularly high risk of infection.
At five years of use, the risk of infection with extended-wear use was about 20 times the risk of daily use. The data also confirmed that the risk of sleeping in contact lenses was significantly higher than daily use.
Dr Aaron Waite, of the Hamilton Eye Institute, told OT that the findings supported recommending LASIK as an appropriate alternative method for refractive correction.
“The data can be extrapolated to show that the lifetime risk for microbial keratitis is much lower with LASIK than contact lenses,” he emphasised.
He highlighted that the risk of microbial keratitis infection for either contact lens wearers or LASIK patients was very low.
Further research was needed to compare other complications in the two groups, including vision loss, dry eye and glare/halos.
Image credit: Ali Mearza