Contact lenses can be used before and after refractive surgery. For example, a patient with presbyopia can use a temporary trial with soft contact lenses to experience monovision before undergoing surgery, thus reducing the risk of postoperative dissatisfaction. Contact lenses can also be used preoperatively in a patient with a motility abnormality (eg, esotropia or exotropia) to simulate expected vision after refractive surgery and to ensure that diplopia does not become manifest.
In the perioperative period, hydrophilic soft contact lenses can help promote epithelial healing or prevent flap-related complications. Rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contact lenses are more effective than are soft lenses to correct reduced vision due to residual irregular astigmatism, and they can be a useful adjunct after RK and LASIK. Night-vision problems caused by a persistent, uncorrected refractive error or irregular astigmatism may also be reduced by using contact lenses. However, if the symptoms are related to higher-order aberrations, they may persist despite contact lens use.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 13 - Refractive Surgery. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.