Choosing a LASIK Surgeon

Your Consultation

Each LASIK surgeon is a unique individual whose principles and priorities are on display to visitors of his or her practice. So, even though a surgeon’s background is a useful starting point, there is no substitute for an in-person consultation.

A clean, well-organized office with a friendly, efficient, detail-oriented staff is a solid indication that a surgeon values how well his or her patients are treated, and quite possibly a clue that similar standards are expected from the medical personnel and surgical staff.

Good LASIK surgeons are not only knowledgeable, but also listen and answer questions directly and honestly. This includes a willingness to talk openly about potential complications. For most patients, laser vision correction is incredibly safe and effective, but no surgeon has zero complications.

Most LASIK patients remember to ask about price, but surprisingly, many forget to ask for statistical data on the surgeon’s outcomes. This data is important in establishing realistic expectations from surgery. It also allows surgeons who keep it to refine future treatments.

Surgeons who don’t keep their own data often quote results from FDA studies. These studies are highly controlled and may not represent real-world results for any particular surgeon. Furthermore, FDA data is not useful in refining future treatments.

Another results-oriented question to ask is the surgeon’s retreatment rate. A retreatment, also known as an enhancement, is a second procedure that is performed when the vision is not fully corrected by the first procedure. Typically, the decision for retreatment is made after three months have passed and the eyes have healed and stabilized from the first treatment.

Retreatment rates cannot be fully analyzed without knowing the surgeon’s retreatment philosophy. Some surgeons will retreat eyes that are very close to 20/20, but not quite there, while others insist on vision substantially less than 20/20 (typically 20/40 or worse) before considering retreatment. Therefore, a high retreatment rate could mean the surgeon is aggressively pursuing 20/20 or it could mean the surgeon is less accurate with his or her primary treatments.

Finally, the consultation is an ideal time to find out exactly who will provide the preoperative and postoperative care, as the surgery itself is the only part of the process that the surgeon absolutely must perform personally. In surgeon-centric practices, the surgeon provides comprehensive preoperative and postoperative care, while in more business-oriented practices this care is typically delegated to others, and often the only time the patient ever sees the surgeon is under the laser.

Find a LASIK surgeon you can trust:

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