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Test your 'vision IQ' and see if it's 20-20

There are lots of myths about contact lenses, laser surgery and other 'vision IQ' information.
October 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
When it comes to wearing contact lenses, do you have the right information? There are lots of myths about them, like whether or not it's OK to sleep in them. And then there's Lasik: Do you still need to wear glasses after surgery? Test your "vision IQ" and see if it's 20-20.

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

"The best thing to do in either case is to do your homework before you see a doctor," said ophthalmologist Dr. Ernest Kornmehl.

But how much do you really know about vision correction?

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 re-treatment rate do you have?'" said ophthalmologist Dr. Sheri Rowen.

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.

One alternative is implantable lenses. Consumer Reports found the procedure had similar benefits to laser surgery, but implants are reversible. But no procedure is risk-free. Implantable lenses may increase your risk of cataracts.

What about contact lenses? If your contact is dried out, can you use saliva in a pinch? Completely false. Doctors say with all the bacteria in your mouth, you're just asking for an infection.

True or false: Sleeping in your lenses is OK as long as they're approved for that purpose. False again.

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

And that can lead to loss of vision.

So will you still need glasses after Lasik? That depends. Even people whose vision is greatly improved by Lasik may still have to wear glasses due to presbyopia. Presbyopia is the natural aging process of the eye that makes it difficult to see things close up, which normally begins to affect people in their 40s.