Still on the fence about getting LASIK vision correction surgery? According to Market Scope, around 10 million Americans have had LASIK surgery since it was first approved by the FDA in 1999. Around 700,000 LASIK surgeries are performed each year and is the preferred choice for a permanent vision correction method. Most LASIK eye surgery patients no longer have to depend on eyeglasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly.
While many elective surgeries are put on hold during the COVID-10 pandemic, many people with impaired vision are using this time to research and educate themselves about LASIK and more importantly, choosing a LASIK surgeon. Here are the top ten recommendations you should evaluate in choosing a LASIK surgeon for your vision correction needs:
- RESEARCH. Do your homework. The Internet, your local chamber of commerce, and medical organizations like the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgery are all good resources.
- EXPERIENCE MATTERS. He or she should have a lot of experience with the procedure. It is not uncommon for a LASIK surgeon to have 25,000 or 50,000 or more LASIK procedures under his or her belt.
- BOARD CERTIFIED. Ask if your surgeon is certified beyond having a basic license to practice medicine. This means that an entity recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties has certified the surgeon to practice his or her specialty. The American Board of Ophthalmology is one such entity that requires board-certified physicians to complete specific training and continuing education related to their specialty.
- LICENSING. State licensing boards can validate a surgeon's credentials. You also can check a surgeon's credentials through the National Practitioner Data Bank.
- LASIK CONSULTATION. Not everyone is a candidate for LASIK surgery. This is because LASIK is not appropriate for everyone. Certain health issues, thin corneas and other factors may indicate that the procedure isn’t right for you.
- TRUST. You should be comfortable and open with your surgeon. He or she should be eager to answer all of your questions and provide you information so you can make an informed decision. You should be made fully aware of the risks and benefits in order to make the choice that is right for you.
- NO PRESSURE or OBLIGATION. You should never feel pressured to have the procedure performed; your LASIK consultation shouldn’t feel like a sales process. The goal is to achieve your best vision, not to get the best deal.
- 20/20 GUARANTEES. Be wary of a practice that over-promises. LASIK is a terrific procedure, but there are limits to what it can achieve. For example, it may not give you perfect vision, just better vision. And since your eyes will continue to change, you might still need reading glasses when you’re older. Your surgeon should be up front with you about these limitations.
- ADVERTISEMENTS. Many refractive surgery centers advertise in newspapers and on radio, television and the Internet. Some ads are more informative than others. Some tout extremely good pricing. But while this can be a starting point, an ad or a procedure price should not be your primary criterion when choosing a doctor.
- REFERRALS. Ask for a referral from your regular eye care professional, whether an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Tell your doctor that you want the LASIK surgeon in your area with the best reputation in the profession. Friends, family and colleagues may also provide a recommendation based on their personal experience.
You want the best-qualified surgeon to help you achieve your vision correction goals, so put in the effort to find the surgeon that meets your needs. Taking time to choose the best surgeon for your LASIK or PRK procedure is a crucial step in increasing the likelihood of attaining a satisfying visual outcome. Be sure to ask about complication rates and clarify billing policies and follow-up exams. Contact Shofner Vision Center for more information or to schedule a complimentary LASIK consultation.