Keratoconus is an eye disorder that develops when the cornea thins and bulges outward, taking a cone shape. The cornea is the clear front surface of an eye, and it usually has a dome shape. The cornea losing its proper dome form and becoming shaped like a cone leads to increased sensitivity to light and…
Questions To Ask at Your LASIK Consultation
LASIK is a surgical procedure intended to permanently correct vision problems such as astigmatism, myopia and farsightedness, eliminating the need for corrective lenses such as glasses or contacts. It has a very high success rate, with 90% of patients achieving 20/20 vision or better following the surgery. However, not everyone is a candidate for the procedure, and not every eye surgeon is qualified to perform it. Therefore, it is important to ask questions during a consultation with a surgeon to determine if LASIK is something to consider.
What is involved in a LASIK procedure?
Farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism are caused by a refractive error. Such errors occur when the shape of the eye changes so that light can no longer focus correctly on the retina to produce a clear image. The procedure involves removing a small portion of the eye to restore it to its original shape and correct the refractive error.
During the procedure, the ophthalmologist uses a very small blade or a laser to create a thin flap in the cornea, then restores the eye to its original shape by removing some tissue from the cornea from underneath the flap. The procedure concludes by replacing the flap back over the eye to allow natural healing to take place.
What questions should a patient ask their LASIK surgeon?
A consultation allows a patient to determine whether the procedure is the best available option. Only 2% of patients who need vision correction go through with LASIK, although 80% of them consider it at some point. Patients should ask questions about the procedure, the surgeon and the recovery period.
Questions about the procedure
To determine the suitability of LASIK, patients should ask about any contraindications, such as existing health conditions or age. If the procedure is not an option, patients should ask about implantable contact lenses or other alternatives.
A patient who is a candidate should ask about potential risks and expected results. Even if the procedure can be performed, patients may decide against it if the risks are too high or the results are not significant enough to make it worth the effort.
Once a patient does opt for surgery, they should ask about necessary preparation for the procedure, including cessation of any medications.
Questions about the surgeon
A successful LASIK operation can offer unbelievable vision improvement. However, a botched procedure could result in permanent, irreversible vision damage. Therefore, it is important for a patient to determine whether an ophthalmologist is trustworthy to perform the procedure. Questions on the following topics can help to determine a surgeon's level of experience and commitment:
- Percentage of patients who experience complications
- Typical postsurgical results
- Professional training
- Years of experience
LASIK has only been approved in the United States for 20 years. If a surgeon claims to have performed it longer than that, ask a follow-up question.
Questions about recovery
The success of the procedure may depend upon following instructions for recovery. Patients should ask about taking time off work and returning to normal activities. Depending on the type of anesthesia used for the procedure, patients may need to arrange for a ride home from the surgical facility. It is also important to receive instructions regarding postsurgical pain control.
You should choose an ophthalmologist for the procedure who provides satisfactory answers to questions and with whom you feel comfortable.
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