If you are seriously considering a laser vision correction procedure and don’t have a relationship with a refractive or LASIK eye surgeon (an ophthalmologist specializing in LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures), here are a few suggestions for choosing and having a consultation with a LASIK surgeon:
- Be comfortable with your LASIK eye surgeon. He or she should be eager to answer all your questions and help you make an informed decision. That includes a discussion about the risks and benefits of LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures you might be a candidate for. LASIK is a safe and effective procedure but there are limits to what it can achieve. Be wary of a practice that overpromises on results or dismisses potential risks.
- Ask about the surgeon’s experience. The more experience a surgeon has, the better. A reputable surgeon should welcome any inquiries into his training and expertise. It is not uncommon for a highly experienced surgeon to have performed more than 25,000 LASIK procedures.
- Talk about candidacy. Not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK – in fact, 15-25 percent of patients don’t meet the qualification standards. Patient selection is essential to a good outcome, so understanding your surgeon’s process is important. Certain medical issues, such as diabetes or thin or damaged corneas, may rule out LASIK as a good option for some people. However, there are other vision correction procedures, such as SMILE or PRK, that may be suitable for a given patient’s needs.
- Choose professionalism over price. It’s natural to want to get a good deal, but this is an investment in the quality of vision and life – prioritize expertise and experience over price. A consultation shouldn’t feel like a sales process, you shouldn’t feel pressured to commit to the procedure right away. A LASIK consult should be a thorough evaluation of your eye health and vision to gather all the needed to make a solid recommendation about vision correction.
- Ask about their technology. Not all LASIK surgeons have access to or invest in the most advanced equipment. Ask your LASIK surgeon specifically about the laser vision correction technology they use and why a particular one may be better for the vision correction procedure you need.
How to make the most out of your LASIK eye surgeon consultation
To help you prepare for a productive conversation with your LASIK eye surgeon, we’ve put together this LASIK patient checklist to help you organize your thoughts and guide you through your consultation.
LASIK Patient Checklist
- I have independently researched the LASIK procedure to learn about the procedure.
- I have considered whether vision correction surgery is a good option for my vision and lifestyle.
- I have selected a qualified surgeon who is a board-certified ophthalmologist who has performed more than 1,000 procedures.
- I have selected a LASIK practice that suits me and my needs and has provided me with the support I need to make an informed decision such as:
- Providing me with patient references.
- Giving me informational materials to read and understand.
- Answering my questions.
- My choice of a LASIK eye surgeon is determined by my confidence in his skills and qualifications, not by the price of my procedure.
- I know I am a good candidate for LASIK because I have:
- Shared my complete health history with my surgeon/practice, including a list of my medications and any medical conditions.
- My eyeglass/contact lens prescription has been stable for at least 12 months.
- Undergone a thorough (upwards of 2-3 hours) evaluation of my vision and eye health that confirmed my physical candidacy for LASIK.
- Shared any concerns or questions I have about the procedure and discussed the risks and benefits of the surgery.
- Discussed my expectations of the surgery, the post-operative healing process, and the outcome with my surgeon.
- Discussed any real or potential factors that may impact the outcome of my procedure.
- Thoroughly reviewed the materials provided to me by my surgeon/practice to help me make an informed decision.