Talking to Your Lasik Surgeon
This guide gives a number of basic questions that you should ask when deciding on which Lasik center and which doctor to select for your Lasik procedure. The comfort you have during the process, and even the results that you receive, may depend on getting good answers to these questions. It is important to realize that the answers to these questions will vary from physician to physician.
The first question to ask is "How many years have you been performing this type of Lasik surgery?" There are several variations of the Lasik procedure, and the doctor should have a track record of at least three years in doing Lasik procedures. This amount of time also allows the doctor to watch his patients and the long term success of their Lasik procedures.
Next, ask the physician for the number of Lasik procedures they have performed in the last two years. The physician should do the operation frequently enough that he is well versed in current procedures. Also, he should be successful enough that prospective Lasik patients feel comfortable in coming to the Lasik center. The physician should perform at least 500 Lasik surgeries in the last two years.
At this point, ask what percent of his clients that underwent Lasik surgery ended up with 20/40 vision or better. Notice that not all patients will achieve 20/20 vision, and that is acceptable. However, it is important that 90 percent of the patients get at least a 20/40 correction after the first Lasik procedure. Claims of much more than 90 percent might make him seem much better, but in this case ask for evidence that that number is true. There are some exceptional physicians out there, but also a few Lasik doctors that make unfounded claims. Asking the doctor what percentage of Lasik patients achieve 20/20 should run about 50 percent. Again, if the number is greatly higher, ask for evidence.
Finally, ask about post-Lasik complications. The percentage of patients that experience complications after 6 months is complete should be 3 percent or less. If the physician claims that complications are so rare that he doesn't keep records, you should be very suspicious and ask for evidence, if any. No doctor is perfect. Similarly, when asked the percentage of patients that require an additional operation to achieve clear vision, the number should be less than 10 percent.
To wrap up the interview, ask the physician what types of Lasik procedures he recommends and practices, and under what circumstances he denied a Lasik procedure to a patient. Not all vision challenged people are good candidates for a Lasik operation, and the doctor should at least have a few examples of people he dissuaded from the operation.
Finally, ask about the cost of the operation and if financing plans are available through the Lasik center. A physician that is willing to sit down and discuss these questions is often a physician that will address any other medical issues that come up, and is a good prospect to perform your Lasik procedure.
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