When considering LASIK surgery, it is important to be informed about the surgery, what to expect before and after and what risks may be involved.
LASIK EYE SURGERY STATISTICS
Millions of people have had laser eye surgery and the majority are satisfied with the outcome (93% according to the ASCRS - American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery). Ninety-five percent of patients reported improved vision, and eighty-five percent said their quality of life improved.
Laser Eye Surgery Results
Patient Screening Affects Outcome
Many of the possible complications associated with laser eye surgery can be avoided with proper screening to ensure that you are an appropriate candidate for laser eye surgery, and if you are, what the best treatment is for your prescription. Your doctor should test and examine your vision and explain the results with you. Most complications happen to patients that were not good candidates for laser eye surgery in the first place, including people with large pupils, thin corneas, severe astigmatism, high or complex prescriptions, or other eye health problems.
As with any important medical decision, it may be beneficial to get a second opinion. Doctors have a financial incentive to accept you as a patient, and you want to find an experienced refractive surgeon that will carefully examine your eyes and make sure you are a good candidate for laser eye surgery. If you are not a good candidate or have a borderline case, hopefully one of them will let you know. A reputable laser eye surgeon should turn away patients that are unlikely to benefit from the procedure.
Two LASIK patients with the same outcome may have a difference of opinion on the outcome of the surgery, based on their expectations. Your doctor should discuss what to expect before, during and after your surgery, including any questions you might have. It is important to be fully informed before the surgery.
Following LASIK surgery, the healing period is approximately six months. It is estimated that an average of 5-10% or surgeries need an enhancement. A LASIK enhancement is just a fine-tuning of the original surgery should it be necessary.
Comparing Test Results
When comparing statistics on lasers and procedures, it is important to keep in mind the perspective and limits of the tests as reported. When viewing laser statistics, keep in mind the following points:
- Today's results are probably better than FDA date due to technical improvements and surgeon experience
- FDA data in one study cannot always be fairly compared to FDA data in another study due to differences in study designs and patient criteria - there has never been a head to head study that has shown that one laser is consistently better than another laser
- Studies cannot cover every possibility
- Once the FDA approves the laser, the surgeon can use the laser any way they believe is appropriate, commonly referred to as "off-label" use.
In addition to reported laser results, the quality of the laser will also be dependent on whether or not the laser equipment is being properly maintained.
While it is true that certain patients may be better off with one type of laser over another, for most people the choice of laser does not make a significant difference. The final vision outcome is more importantly influenced by the skill and experience of the surgeon and the quality of care before and after the eye surgery.
Before your laser eye surgery, as is required before most medical procedures, you will be asked to sign a consent form. At this time, if you still have any questions or concerns, make sure you discuss them with your doctor.