The safety of LASIK is a key consideration for anyone thinking about Laser Eye Surgery for vision correction. It is important to understand the solid overall long term safety record as well as a look at what might be key factors that impact LASIK safety.
By far the most important factors that can affect LASIK safety are the laser and instrumentation to be used to perform the treatment and even more so, the skill and experience of the LASIK Surgeon.
Long Term Track Record
The use of the Excimer laser for performing Laser Eye Surgery for the Laser Vision Correction of nearsightedness was first approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 20, 1995. The Excimer Laser was specifically FDA approved for LASIK in 1998. So as of 2011, Laser Eye Surgery for vision correction has been performed for just over 16 years and the LASIK procedure has been performed under FDA approval for just over 11 years.
It is estimated that some 22 million patients worldwide have had LASIK.
LASIK is generally considered one of the most successful and safe surgical procedures of any type. 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 more than 90 percent of the time. With regard to any loss of vision, it is quite rare to experience a loss of vision beyond 20/40 occurring in about only 3 per 1,000 cases and with regard to serious complications such as infection or corneal damage the risk is even less occurring in fewer than 1 in 1,000 cases. While not an infinite amount of time, the availability of the various Laser Vision Correction procedures, including LASIK for this 10-15 year timeframe with these results does give us access to real world experience and data that speaks to its long term safety record. But, there is more to safety than simply the FDA approval of the laser itself.
Safety is the Hands of the LASIK Surgeon
FDA approval does not ensure that a LASIK Surgeon is going to provide a thorough evaluation and consultation, does not imply that LASIK Surgeons will provide a complete review of the possible risks and complications of LASIK-nor does it imply that a 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 for that matter.
So, with regard to LASIK safety, choosing a 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 really learn all they need to know about LASIK safety is to find out if they are a good candidate for LASIK by having an evaluation, examination, and consultation with Dr. Confino who is a Corneal Surgeon and LASIK specialist. Please feel free to contact us schedule an appointment by calling Eye Care & Surgery Center Toll Free at 800.504.1083.