The science of laser vision correction has advanced rapidly since its introduction more than two decades ago. It has improved both in terms of safety and accuracy.
From a safety standpoint, the introduction of next-generation microkeratomes (surgical blades) and bladeless lasik techniques have decreased the complication rates associated with creating a corneal flap compared with older devices. PRK and Advanced Surface Ablation (flapless LASIK) have taken this one step further, by doing away with the flap altogether.
From an accuracy standpoint, Wavefront custom LASIK technology, along with larger treatment zones and blend zone technologies, was able to eliminate night vision problems and provide a better visual acuity. Now, in many patients, the visual acuity surpasses the 20/20 range into 20/15 and 20/10 (the smaller the bottom number, the sharper the vision).
Since its early introduction, millions of people have had the procedure done. However, many people worry about the long-term effects of lasers on the eyes. Concerned mostly about risks, they question the safety of LASIK surgery when compared with contact lenses.
The good news is that we now have long-term data about the safety and patient satisfaction with Laser Vision Correction. In order to remain objective, we need to examine data from multiple independent sources.
A recent publication is based on the study of the Army Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program (WRESP), which was established by the US Army to reduce the limitations posed by corrective eyewear (glasses and contact lenses) in combat arms soldiers. The outcome and satisfaction rates of 16,111 Army service members who have undergone laser vision correction were studied. The study has concluded that this program provided excellent outcomes and enhanced the overall readiness of these Army service members. Reports of night vision difficulties, surgical complications, and dry eyes are infrequent, and do not seem to have a significant negative impact on military operations or individual readiness. (Source: Ophthalmology; Volume 112, Issue 2, Pages 184-190.e2)
One of the most thorough evaluations of LASIK in the peer-reviewed literature was published in 2009. The study reviewed more than 1,500 articles from over 20 countries published from 1988 to 2008. The results determined that 95.4% of patients were “satisfied or very satisfied” with their LASIK surgery (Solomon KD, Fernández de Castro LE, Sandoval HP, et el. LASIK world literature review: quality of life and patient satisfaction. Ophthalmology. 2009;116:691-701)
)A different article, published in Ocular Surgery News, reports the results of a large study of 800 eyes over a 10 year period presented at the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons meeting. According to this article: efficacy, safety and predictability were maintained throughout the study in eyes requiring low, intermediate and high levels of correction. (Source: Ocular Surgery News; January 1, 2007 p.36
Another study followed patients for 12 years following their Laser Vision Correction and found that “Almost 90% of eyes recalled for 12-year follow-up maintained or improved best corrected visual acuity” ( Source: Journal of Refractive Surgery 2006; 22:871-877, Ocular Surgery News; January 1, 2007 p.34)
Despite these positive reports, please remember that LASIK surgery is still a medical procedure that carries certain risks and must be done by a caring and conscientious surgeon. LASIK surgery is not a commodity that you shop for according to price. Do not fall prey to misleading marketing tactics such as paid celebrity endorsements that are designed by LASIK corporations to lure you in and “close the deal”. These corporations are run by CEOs, not physicians, and they employ constantly changing surgeons with a high turnover rate.
Instead, look for a compassionate physician, such as Ilan Cohen MD of 5th Avenue Eye Center, who will spend time with you before and after the surgery, and will explore the pros and cons of the surgery as they apply to your individual case.
Dr. Cohen believes that a comprehensive and detailed screening exam is crucial to the final outcome of your surgery. Most of the problems reported by patients after LASIK are due to the fact that they were not good candidates for LASIK to begin with, and this was overlooked during the screening exam. Contact us today to schedule your LASIK surgery NYC consultation!
We always welcome your calls at (212) 764-2020 or (866) 731-3937!