Today the FDA will hold hearings on consumer satisfaction and outcomes of LASIK surgery. While there have been good large studies that document the safety and efficacy of LASIK, specifically quantifying patient satisfaction has not been addressed. Patients, both happy and unhappy, as well as surgeons and other eye care professionals will testify.
I have been performing LASIK for over a decade now with well over 8000 surgeries under my belt. I think that I can provide some insight into my refractive patients. LASIK is not for everyone. Not every person is medically a candidate (prescription too high, cornea too thin, eyes too dry, etc). And not everyone is psychologically a candidate for surgery (unrealistic expectations, poor surgical cooperation, not appreciating the risks of surgery). One of the most important things I do is to help patients figure out if they are good candidates. In order to get good results, you need good candidates. And a good surgeon of course. I tell prospective patients ‘no’ all the time if I think LASIK isnt a good choice for them.
The risk of complications is below 1%, and going lower. The surgery I perform today is a superior and safer surgery than in the past as the technology and our knowledge has improved. While there will always be a small risk with LASIK surgery, and some few patients may not always be happy, the vast majority of bad LASIK outcomes are in those patients who have had surgery with old technology and old techniques.
I look forward to the report from the study that the FDA is commissioning on LASIK as I know that it will support what has been the overwhelming experience of my refractive practice: good candidates operated on by a good surgeon, in a great laser center with superior technology will produce great results and happy patients. I am always happy to discuss this and any issue, so dont hesitate to email me. I want all of my patients to completely understand the procedure, its risks and benefits and how it may or may not be right for them. Mark H. Blecher, M.D.