What can be done to change the patient perspective of LASIK in terms of safety?
Arthur B. Cummings, MB ChB, FCS(SA), MMed(Ophth), FRCS(Edin)
I have found that telling patients that more refractive surgeons have had LASIK done than any other profession is certainly helpful. If asked, I would admit that I have had it, too, although I typically do not volunteer this as I am not interested in the hard sell.
The most important thing that we can all do collectively to improve the safety perception of LASIK is to get LASIK out of the hands of the €499 merchants with their bait-and-switch tactics.
Allon Barsam, MD, MA, FRCOphth
For the majority of patients who are motivated by independence from glasses and contact lenses, laser eye surgery in the form of LASIK remains the safest and most predictable surgical option. I do not believe that the cost is prohibitive for most patients, and the cost savings from not buying contact lenses and glasses over several years are considerable. We, as a profession, have not been effective enough in educating patients regarding the benefits of laser eye surgery provided it is done by a high-caliber surgeon with state-of-the-art technology. Unfortunately, LASIK has been commoditized, and many patients are understandably skeptical about marketing and promotional materials. It is a surgical procedure on the cornea, and it should thus be carried out by fellowship-trained corneal surgeons. Patients should be educated about the importance of knowing who their individual surgeon is, as this is a major determinant of visual outcome and safety.
Detlef Holland, MD
We tell our patients that our refractive center uses only the newest technologies and that we have established quality-management systems to ensure that LASIK is safe and effective. Also, we inform patients that we obtain certification from organizations such as the German Technischer Überwachungsverein (TÜV). Having these certifications helps to separate us from low-quality clinics with insufficient results.
Dan Z. Reinstein, MD, MA(Cantab), FRCSC, DABO, FRCOphth, FEBO
I tell patients that the safety of LASIK has changed dramatically over the past 10 years because we now have the expertise and the diagnostic and repair tools that enable us to correct the vast majority of complications.