One of the most important factors affecting the outcome of LASIK surgery is the choice of surgeon. When choosing a laser eye doctor you want to find one that is experienced and skilled and performs sufficient pre-op tests and exams. A reputable laser eye surgeon will take the time to answer your questions and make sure that your eyes are healthy and acceptable for laser eye surgery.
How to Find a Reputable and Skilled Laser Eye Surgeon
The best way to find a laser eye surgeon is thru word of mouth recommendations from family and friends that have had LASIK surgery and are happy with the care they received from their laser eye doctor. You may also want to ask your primary eye care doctor or family doctor who they would go to if they were to have LASIK surgery. Of course, LASIK centers also advertise in the phone book yellow pages as well as on the internet. The internet is also a great resource for searching for customer testimonials and doctor recommendations. If you are choosing a doctor without any referrals or recommendations, you might want to check with the state medical board to verify licensing on doctors and see if there are any complaints filed against them.
Questions to Ask a Laser Eye Surgeon
It’s important to find out some basic information about the doctor as well as asking the doctor questions about anything that might be of personal concern to you. A reputable doctor will take the time to answer your questions without making you feel out of place or uncomfortable for doing so. If not, it is a good sign that you should find another laser eye doctor.
Some of the basic information to ask a laser eye surgeon concerns his level of experience and expertise. In regards to experience, how many years has he performed refractive surgery (at least three), how many refractive procedures has he performed (total of 500, with at least 250 in the last year), and how many times has he performed the same procedure with the same equipment on someone with the same refractive correction as you (at least 100). It is important the doctor is not only skilled in eye surgery, but that they have training and skill with the technology, technique, and type of correction that is planned for you.
Other questions to discuss with the laser eye center involves cost, fees, and pricing. Such as, What items are included in the cost? What items are not included? What tests and follow-up exams do you perform? Are all exams, pre-op tests, and follow-up appointments included in the cost or are they billed separately? Will any necessary medications (painkillers, anti-inflammatories, eye drops) be provided or do I purchase those myself? Does the fee include any treatment for complications or enhancement surgery if necessary?
The Importance of Proper Screening and Pre-Op Exams before LASIK Surgery
Determining if an individual is a good candidate for laser eye surgery is important to the outcome of LASIK surgery. The success of surgery can be affected by properly screening patients, both for LASIK surgery itself as well as helping a doctor determine what procedure and technology is best suited for the refractive correction that needs to be performed. It is not enough to have a standard exam and eye prescription. The doctor should thoroughly exam the eyes and make sure they are healthy, take a health history for conditions that affect eye health and general healing, measure and map the cornea with a corneal topography, and test for dry eyes.
A good candidate for LASIK surgery will have healthy eyes (no infections, cataracts, glaucoma, or severe dry eye), generally be in good health and have no other condition that might impact healing (such as a degenerative or autoimmune disease), and have a refractive error that is treatable with laser eye surgery. It is also necessary that a LASIK patients vision has been stable for at least a year before surgery. As vision continues to change into early adulthood, good candidates are usually at least in their early twenties before their vision stabilizes. As hormonal changes in pregnant and nursing women can affect the shape of the eye, they will need to wait until their hormone levels are back to normal and vision stabilizes.
Safety, Side Effects, and Risks of LASIK Surgery
Millions of individuals have undergone LASIK surgery with excellent outcomes and most LASIK patients say they are happy with the results. LASIK has also been approved by the FDA as a safe and effective refractive procedure. However, like any surgery, it is important to be aware of some of the side effects or possible risks of the procedure. Fortunately, many problems can be avoided by proper screening, surgeon skill, making use of new technology, and proper follow-up eye care after surgery.
Two of the most common side effects are dry eyes and nighttime glare or halos, which are usually temporary until the eyes heal. Eye drops can soothe dry eyes during the healing process, and Wavefront technology can help reduce the incidence of glare and other similar “higher order” aberrations. It is also normal for vision to fluctuate as the eyes heal. During the healing process, it is important to follow your doctors instructions and keep all follow-up appointments so he can check the recovery and health of the eye as it heals from the LASIK procedure.