Ten tips to choosing a LASIK or Laser Vision Correction Center
by: Robert K. Maloney
The world of ophthalmology is one of the fastest evolving fields of medicine. Never before have so many new techniques and scientific breakthroughs emerged in such a short period of time. LASIK surgery, which uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea, offers millions of people the opportunity to reduce or eliminate their need for glasses or contacts.
Television and radio ads are filled with amazing stories about LASIK surgery as the fast and painless way to correct vision, but stories are also appearing about people for whom it was less than successful. Before you opt to go under the beam, what can you do to help ensure that you will be happy with your results?
The key to safe surgery in any field of medicine is an informed patient. Take a little time and research the LASIK center you are considering for laser eye surgery. Dr. Robert K. Maloney, voted by his peers as one of America?s Top Ten vision correction surgeons in a national survey by Ophthalmology Times, offers the following guidelines to quality care and treatment.
1. Find a doctor by getting referrals from other doctors or from patients who have had LASIK or laser vision correction.
2. Don’t be fooled by fancy advertisements about a particular laser center. Choose the doctor, not the laser center. Find out who will actually do your procedure, then ask about that doctor?s qualifications (e.g., board certification, special training).
3. Choose a doctor who has done at least 5,000 LASIK or eye laser surgeries. What a doctor doesn?t know can hurt you.
4. Ask for information on your doctor?s LASIK eye surgery complication rates. If your doctor won?t tell you, find another one. For top surgeons, the figure is under 3 in 1,000.
5. Ask what measures are taken to prevent infection. Look for a center with a sterile or dust-free operating room. Make sure that disposable parts are not reused. Insist that your eye be thoroughly sterilized, and insist that the surgical instruments be sterilized before your eye laser surgery to eliminate the risk of transmission of HIV or hepatitis.
6. Beware of advertisements pushing ?low cost? LASIK surgery. Discount surgery is as good as a discount parachute. The potential savings are not worth the risk of receiving less than expert care!
7. Expect to see very well after LASIK, but don’t expect to see perfectly. Each patient gets a slightly different result. The best surgeon in the world can?t guarantee 20/20 vision. As with any eye laser surgery, results are as individual as each patient. Beware of any doctor who promises 20/20 vision.
8. If you feel like you’re getting a hard sell, you probably are. Go elsewhere. You’re not buying a car; this is real LASIK eye surgery.
9. If your level of nearsightedness is more than -11 or so, implantable lenses will probably offer better vision than LASIK. Consider waiting until the new lenses are available. Ask your doctor about them and other recent advances.
10. While you investigate, don’t lose sight of the benefits: for most people a lifetime of bad vision can be cured in 5 minutes. LASIK eye surgery has improved the eyesight of millions of people around the world.