Conact Lens Implants Versus Lasik

Although the contact lens implants cost thrice that of a Lasik procedure, many people with high myopia do not mind as it gives better results and has fewer side effects.



  • Implants can treat myopia of up to 1,900 degrees per eye, while Lasik is limited to a maximum of 1,200 to 1,400 degrees.
  • Implants can treat long-sightedness ofup to 1,000 degrees. Lasik is limited to a maximum of 600 degrees.
  • Both implants and Lasik can treat astigmatism of up to 600 degrees.
  • An implant surgery takes 10 minutes to perform - the same time needed for a Lasik procedure.
  • There are fewer after-effects like dry eyes, haloes (rings around light sources) and starbursts after an implant operation.
  • An implant operation is reversible and allows for cataract surgery in future.
    The removal of corneal tissue during Lasik may make it more difficult to accurately calculate the power of the replacement lens to treat cataracts.
  • Implants costs much more than Lasik procedures.
  • It is more invasive than Lasik.

More Opt for Contact Lens Transplants

Worldwide, a lens is implanted every 10 minutes today, compared to one every 20 minutes in 2008. These figures came from The European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons' symposium in Paris on Sep 2010.



This is despite the high cost of the procedure. As of Sep 10, the cost of contact lens implants works out to be about thrice the cost of Lasik.

In general, implants can treat much higher degrees of myopia of up to 1,900 degrees per eye, while Lasik is usually limited to a maximum of 1,200 to 1,400 degrees. Hence, implants are especially suitable for those with high myopia of above 700 degrees in each eye.

More importantly, people with high myopia tend to have thin corneas. This rules out Lasik surgery for them. Like Lasik, lens implants are also effective for those with low to moderate myopia. Their growing popularity here is mirrored globally.

Mr Teo, 29, had contact lens implants for his eyes on March 10. He said the $8,500 he paid for the operation was worth the cost as he no longer needs to wear spectacles or contact lenses. The engineer had high myopia of 1,200 and 1,300 degrees in his right and left eye respectively, and 75 degrees of astigmatism in both. This made him more suited for implants.

"My job requires me to travel, often and to put in long hours. For example, I have been at work for 14 hours today," he said when speaking to this reporter.

Mr Teo is also a mountaineer. He has scaled Mount Everest in2005.

He had experienced discomfort with his contact lenses while climbing. His decision to have the procedure was spurred by his plans to go on future expeditions.

The implants can also correct astigmatism of up to 600 degrees and long-sightedness of up to 1,090 degrees. Lasik can correct astigmatism and long-sightedness of up to 600 degrees.

The procedure is well-known in Europe, having been available there since 1997. Apart from being able to produce better-quality vision than Lasik for people with high myopia, implants have fewer after-effects like dry eyes, haloes (rings around light sources) and starbursts.

Finance executive Jenny, 33, who had both Lasik and implant surgery last month, said she found better results with the latter.

Her right eye was corrected with Lasik, while she had implant surgery on her left eye. This is because she had higher myopia. of 1,000 degrees in her left eye, compared to 850 degrees in her right eye. She also had 100 degrees of astigmatism in both eyes.

"My left eye has perfect vision now because of the implant, but the vision in my right eye is still a little blurry," said Ms Lam, who needed spectacles from age 10.

"Lasik also caused extreme dryness in my eye, which was very uncomfortable." She opted for this unusual combination of eye surgery also because of the high cost of implants.

Another benefit of implants is that it is reversible. This boosts the chances of getting good results should a person need cataract surgery when he gets older. In such cases, the implants are removed and replaced with another type of lens that corrects cataracts. In comparison, Lasik patients who later need cataract surgery may not get as good results. The removal of corneal tissue during Lasik may make it more difficult to accurately calculate the power of the replacement lens. However, implants have their downside too, apart from being expensive. The main disadvantage is that it is more invasive than Lasik. Inserting the lens implant involves operating on the inside of the eye, rather than only on the cornea, like in Lasik - so will always carry a slightly higher risk of infection.

Hence, patients will generally be discouraged from choosing implants if they are eligible for Lasik. This is because Laik has a longer track record.


Return to Free eBooks, Articles & Tips on Eye Care