Thursday, August 11, 2011

How Safe is LASIK Surgery?

The two most important factors determining the safety of Laser Eye Surgery are the laser and instrumentation to be used to perform the treatment and even more so, the skill and experience of the LASIK Surgeon.

“I began performing Laser Eye Surgery for the Laser Vision Correction of nearsightedness as part of the original FDA clinical trials to demonstrate safety and efficacy of the Excimer Laser. As a matter of routine practice we began performing Laser Vision Correction upon Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the Excimer Laser on October 20, 1995. The Excimer Laser was specifically FDA approved for LASIK in 1998. So as of 2011, Laser Eye Surgery for Laser Vision Correction has been performed for just over 15 years and the LASIK procedure has been performed under FDA approval for just over 12 years. It is estimated that some 20 million patients worldwide have had LASIK”, commented Birmingham Corneal Specialist and LASIK Surgeon Marc Michelson, M.D.

LASIK is generally considered one of the most successful and safe surgical procedures of any type of eye surgery. In skilled hands nearsighted patients can expect to achieve 20/40 vision more than 98 percent of the time and uncorrected vision of 20/20 or 20/25 90 percent of the time. The safety record is equally as impressive in that rarely is there vision loss of 20/40 or worse after LASIK which occurs in about only 3 per 1,000 cases and serious complications, such as infection or corneal damage occur even more infrequently in fewer than 1 in 1,000 cases.

There is more to safety than simply the laser device itself. As a practical matter FDA approval does not indicate that a LASIK Surgeon is going to provide a thorough evaluation and consultation, guarantee that LASIK Surgeons will provide a complete review of the possible risks and complications of LASIK or that the LASIK Surgeon will use the appropriate screening and decision criteria to be sure that a patient is in fact a good candidate for LASIK or any Laser Eye Surgery. Thus with regard to LASIK safety, choosing the best LASIK Surgeon is the most important decision a patient makes in deciding to have LASIK and is a significant part of making LASIK a safe and effective procedure. You should not choose a LASIK Surgeon based on slick advertising or low price. You should choose a LASIK Surgeon based on reputation in the community, the length of time they have been performing LASIK and the comfort and rapport established during your consultation. While the equipment used may provide a slight advantage or disadvantage in safety, it is ALWAYS the skill and experience of the surgeon that contributes the most to the overall safety of Laser Eye Surgery for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

The best way for you or someone you know to find out if they are a good candidate for LASIK is to have an evaluation, examination, and consultation at Michelson Laser Vision. Please feel free to schedule an appointment by calling us at 205-969-8100.