LASIK Eye Surgeons

Electing to have surgery on your eyes is daunting, and there are key questions you need to ask before making your decision about which LASIK eye surgeon to go with. The more you learn about laser eye surgery, the more quickly you can put your fears to rest and make informed choices.

Find a LASIK Eye Surgeon

To find a LASIK surgeon in your area, ask for referrals from your current optometrist   Optometrist: Vision care specialist. Doctor of optometry (OD) specializing in vision problems, treating vision conditions with spectacles, contact lenses, low vision aids, and vision therapy, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.   or ophthalmologist,   Ophthalmologist: A physician (doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy) qualified to diagnose, manage, and treat all eye and visual system disorders. An ophthalmologist is trained to render total eye care, including vision services, contact lenses, eye examinations, medical eye care, and surgical eye care.   or even family and friends that have been through the procedure.

Once you've set up your initial appointment, get the answers you need to decide if this is the right surgeon for you. The following guidelines should help.

Choosing a LASIK Eye Surgeon

LASIK surgeons should be licensed and trained in the use of laser equipment to perform this kind of vision correction. Medical licensing is, in most cases, done by local, state, or national medical boards. Most physicians are perfectly comfortable discussing their credentials, but you can find out more by calling local, state, or national ophthalmic associations or by contacting the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa.

Many laser vision correction surgeons are also qualified to perform any eye surgery, including other corrective procedures. Schools of ophthalmic medicine offer courses in these procedures. In addition, all physicians are required to participate in continuing educational opportunities each year by their state medical board. Refractive surgeons, who perform laser vision correction, typically receive training on the laser system they use as well.

The outcome of laser eye surgery depends to a large degree on the skill of your LASIK surgeon and his or her level of experience with a particular LASIK procedure.

You may feel a little overwhelmed by the choices available to you for laser eye correction. Remember, selecting a procedure isn't a decision you make alone. Your surgeon will recommend the right laser eye correction procedure for your needs, based on a number of factors; for example, your health status, vision errors, and goals for laser eye correction.

Not every laser system is indicated, or approved by the FDA FDA: An abbreviation for the Food and Drug Administration, a federal agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services responsible for determining the Safety and Effectiveness of drugs or medical devices.  , to treat every type of vision problem. When choosing your doctor, ask which technologies are used. Most importantly, you should confirm with your doctor that the laser system used in your procedure can correct your specific eye problems.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Along with any questions you may have, bring this list to your initial consultation and take notes. Rely on your common sense and ask for proof when in doubt1.

  • How long have you been performing LASIK procedures?
  • What results can someone with my vision problem realistically expect from LASIK?
  • What percentage of your patients achieve 20/40 results or better?
  • What percent of your patients achieve 20/20 or better?
  • How many patients report unresolved complications 6 months after the surgery?
  • If enhancement surgery is required, what will you charge?
  • Do my occupation and hobbies affect my candidacy?
  • Does my medical history have any bearing on my candidacy?
  • How often and when will you perform postoperative examinations?

For your convenience, here is a PDF of questions. Just print and take them with you: Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Next: Paying for LASIK

References

  1. USA Eyes: LASIK Patient Advocacy Surgeon Certification. www.usaeyes.org/lasik/faq/lasik-tough-questions.htm. Accessed October 18, 2010.