Seeing Clearly: What's Your Vision IQ?


When it comes to wearing contact lenses or getting LASIK surgery, how acute is your vision IQ?

Glasses, contacts, even surgery, we'll try anything to improve vision.

"The best thing to do in either, for either case, is to do your homework before you see a doctor," Ernest W. Kornmehl, MD, FACS, Medical Director, Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates, told Ivanhoe.

But what's your vision IQ? True or false: LASIK is a one-time procedure.

False, about 10.5 percent of LASIK patients in the U.S. require a retreatment or enhancement. This applies to patients who have severe cases of eye conditions.

"You should ask, ‘what kind of retreatment rate do you have?'" Sheri L. Rowen, MD, FACS, Director of Ophthalmology, Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, told Ivanhoe.

True or false: as long as your eye prescription is stable, you're a good candidate for LASIK. False, those with thin corneas and diabetics with reduced corneal sensation should avoid LASIK. What about contacts? If your contact is dried out, you can use saliva in a pinch.

Doctors say with all the bacteria in your mouth, you're just asking for an infection.

"Infections are brutal," Dr. Rowen said.

Finally, true or false: sleeping in your lenses is okay as long as they're approved for that purpose.

"No patient should ever sleep in their contact lenses. It's well documented there's a seven times higher risk of corneal ulceration," Dr. Kornmehl said. It could also lead to loss of vision.

Contacts and laser surgery aren't your only options for improved vision.

Consumer reports found implantable lenses had similar benefits to laser surgery, but implants are reversible and there's no risk of damaging your night vision, but no procedure is risk free. Implantable lenses may increase your risk of cataracts.

CONTACT LENSES: If you or someone you know has ever worn a pair of prescription eyeglasses, then chances are that they have a pair of contact lenses as well. Contacts are a common form of treatment to those who struggle with vision loss and they provide sight to individuals who are unable to see at 20/20 vision. Most lenses correct astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and presbyopia and are also used for patients who have undergone cataract surgery. (Source:www.WebMd.com)


LASIK EYE SURGERY: Laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is a laser vision correction surgery that reshapes the cornea to provide the patient with corrected vision without the use of contact lenses or glasses.  This procedure has a 90% success rate and is said to correct vision immediately or by the next day. With little to zero recovery time needed, it is evident why most people who are in need of contacts and glasses turn to LASIK eye surgery. (Source: www.WebMD.com)


IMPLANTABLE CONTACT LENSES: This new advancement in eye correction offers a different route than LASIK eye surgery. Implantable contact lenses use to be a procedure that primarily targeted patients with cataracts, but now, it is available to those in need of vision correction. Similar to LASIK surgery, this operation surgically opens the cornea to adjust the focus of the eye. There are two different makes of implantable contact lenses to suit the individual; verisyse phakic intraocular lens (IOL) and visian implantable collamer lens (ICL). The IOL lens is made of plastic and is performed on patients ages 21 and older who have a change in refraction of less than 0.5 diopters in six months. The ICL lens is targeted for patients aged 21 to 45 with a change in refraction of less than 0.5 diopters in one year. (Source: www.WebMD.com)


PROS: The positive outcome of implantable contact lenses. (www.WebMD.com

  • This is a 10 to 15 minute procedure
  • The results are immediate or overnight
  • The procedure is as safe as LASIK


CONS: The negative outcome of implantable contact lenses. (www.WebMD.com)

  • Two-part procedure; both eyes are done one at a time
  • May cost up to $5,500 an eye
  • More elaborate procedure than LASIK


? For More Information, Contact:


Ernest W. Kornmehl, MD

Medical Director

Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates