PURPOSE: To evaluate visual performance during concentrated visual work in patients wearing soft contact lenses or after LASIK. METHODS: Thirty-one eyes of 17 patients who had worn soft contact lenses before LASIK were examined by the following tests immediately and 10 seconds after eye opening: 1) functional visual acuity, which is defined as visual acuity measured after prolonged eye opening without blinking; 2) surface regularity index (SRI) and surface asymmetry index (SAI) in corneal topography; and 3) higher order aberration measured with NIDEK OPD-Scan. Results were compared in the same patients before (with soft contact lenses and no eye surgery) and 1 month after LASIK (without soft contact lenses). RESULTS: Functional visual acuity was significantly decreased 10 seconds after eye opening compared with immediately after eye opening, both with soft contact lenses and after LASIK, and decreased to a greater extent with soft contact lenses. The SRI and SAI were significantly increased 10 seconds after eye opening compared with immediately after eye opening, both with soft contact lenses and after LASIK, and increased to a greater extent with soft contact lenses. Higher order aberration was increased 10 seconds after eye opening with soft contact lenses, but not after LASIK. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that prolonged eye opening induces a decreased quality of vision in eyes of soft contact lens wearers and after LASIK. Under conditions in which blinking is restricted due to concentrated visual work, such as visual display terminal work, reading, and driving, visual performance may be more compromised with soft contact lens wear than after LASIK.
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