LASIK Consent: Understanding the Informed Consent for LASIK

Signing a LASIK Informed Consent Form

There is a lot to do when you are preparing to have surgery – any surgery. From having someone on hand to drive and, perhaps, care for you while you recover to making sure you have the prescribed medications on hand when you get home. One of the most important parts of preparing for surgery is getting, reading, and taking the time to thoroughly understand the Informed Consent form you receive from your surgeon.

As with any surgery or other vision-correcting procedure, the informed consent form is designed to help you understand the procedure you have chosen – and this is good – particularly with elective procedures such as LASIK. You need and deserve to know as much about LASIK as possible before you make the personal decision to have the procedure. The informed consent form is an important part of the education process. It helps you not only become an informed patient; but also ensures you make your decision with confidence and understanding.

An ophthalmologist talking through the informed consent with a patient

Importantly, becoming an informed patient isn’t just about reviewing the informed consent form. There are many steps along the way. Some should be you doing your own research into LASIK and some will be done with your surgeon and/or the practice staff, which is why the selection of a surgeon is another very important step in the process; you want a professional who has your best interest in mind.

4 important LASIK Consent form tips

While every practice is different, there are a few basics that indicate you are working with a practice that takes its obligation to educate and support you seriously:

  1. Get your questions answered
  2. Discuss and review potential risks
  3. Review the form privately and with family and friends
  4. Ask for clarification

1. Get your questions answered

The discussions you have with the surgical staff should be open, honest, and productive for you; any and all of your questions should be answered thoroughly and thoughtfully.

2. Discuss and review potential risks

This discussion should include a review of any potential risks of your particular case and LASIK procedure. These should also be reflected in the informed consent form, you want the risks defined and understood before you sign.

3. Review the informed consent form privately and with family and friends

It is likely the surgical staff will review the consent document with you, but you should be given time to review the material privately. Ideally, you will have enough time to take the form home and review it with family or friends to help you in making your decision.

4. Ask for clarification

That said, the material should be clear, accurate, and thorough. You should be familiar with all of the terms in the material; if not, take the time to ask for clarification. The right practice for you will expect you to have more questions and be happy to answer them.

While it is among the last steps in the lead-up to surgery, the informed consent form deserves your time and attention so you have full knowledge of the benefits and risks associated with your procedure. Set yourself up for success in achieving your vision goals by giving the surgical informed consent form more than a cursory read.

Get your LASIK questions answered

The Refractive Surgery Council (RSC) Editorial Advisory Board is comprised of some of the world’s leading refractive surgeons, thought-leaders, and innovators that review and approve our articles, as well as identify and interpret the latest findings in the field of refractive surgery. The Refractive Surgery Council Verified Seal means that every word we share meets the highest standards in the field of refractive surgery.

Published February 23, 2016
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