What should I look for in a LASIK surgeon?
South Jersey Eye Physicians recognizes how important it is to choose the right surgeon for your vision correction needs. Believe it or not, choosing a surgeon for your LASIK surgery is actually not as difficult as it can be for other types of surgical procedures; however, a poorly performed eye surgery can affect the quality of your life almost as negatively as a poorly performed heart surgery. With this in mind, it is critical that you choose the best LASIK surgeon available.
The process for finding a highly reputable LASIK or PRK surgeon can become a tedious endeavor if you are not aware of the indicators needed to identify a quality surgeon. Therefore, here is a list of factors to consider when you are checking qualifications and abilities of a LASIK surgeon:
- Licensing. Make sure you validate a surgeon's credentials by ensuring he/she is licensed through the state. You can also verify his/her credentials through the National Practitioner Data Bank.
- Board certification. Be sure your surgeon is board certified beyond having a basic license to practice medicine. This means that your surgeon should be board certified through the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), an entity that requires board-certified physicians to complete specific training and continuing education related to ophthalmology.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology membership. Verify your surgeon's membership directly through the AAO website.
- Advertisements. Many refractive surgery centers advertise in newspapers, on the radio and on TV. Some ads are more reputable and informative than others. Some may tout extremely good pricing, but fail to point out the "fine print" and pricing exclusions. While advertisements can be a starting point, an ad or a procedure price should not be your only criterion when choosing a doctor. After all, you only get 2 eyes in your lifetime, so be sure to prioritize them appropriately by only trusting a highly reputable and experienced LASIK surgeon.
- Referrals. Ask for a referral from family and friends! Tell them that you want the LASIK surgeon in your area with the best reputation in the LASIK profession. Also, reputable LASIK surgeons themselves can be great sources of referrals. If you know of a refractive surgeon who is well respected in another state, call his or her office and ask for recommendations regarding good surgeons in your area.
Questions to Ask:
Remember, a bad vision correction procedure can negatively impact your livelihood, so be sure to always look for an organization and surgeon with experience & great credentials. Here are some questions to ask your LASIK surgeon or the staff to be sure he/she is the right surgeon for you.
- Who is the LASIK surgeon, and when will I meet him/her? You should have an opportunity to evaluate whether or not you trust him/her with your eyes. At many LASIK centers, you won't have this chance, as you may not meet your surgeon until you have already paid and positioned under the laser!
- How long have you been doing LASIK surgery?
- How much experience do you have with the LASIK procedure?
- Do you do any other procedures than LASIK? There are cases where LASIK isn't the best procedure for you, but if that's all your surgeon performs, then he/she may recommend it anyway.
- What laser will you be using for my surgery? Make sure the surgeon is using a laser approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Does your laser stay onsite in a temperature and humidity controlled room at all times? Who else uses and maintains your laser?
- What's involved in after-surgery care?
- Who will handle my after-surgery care? Who will be responsible?
- What are the risks and possible complications?
It is important that you feel confident that you have chosen the right surgeon and facility for you. So if you are not happy with answers to your questions, ask for more information or consult another highly respected facility.
It's also appropriate to ask if the surgeon performs procedures from his or her own facility with his or her own LASIK equipment. Surgeons in this category likely have considerable experience because they perform enough procedures to invest in and support a LASIK center of their own. If a surgeon needs to travel to an outside surgical center or share a laser with other practices, then this may be evidence that fewer procedures are performed.
The LASIK Surgeon's Office: "Personal Touch"
As with any relationship you have with a doctor or medical facility, it is important that you find a surgeon and staff that you feel comfortable with and can trust. You should feel that you can trust the surgeon and staff and that they are all completely interested in you as a person. If you are unable to trust in, or if you feel as though you lack rapport with, your eye surgeon or the facility staff, then it is important to continue looking for the right surgeon for you.
Make sure that your surgeon takes the time to assess your eyes, and that he/she takes the time to answer all of your questions. If you're feeling rushed at any time, run for the door!
Be sure to assess the presence of that "personal touch" when you are visiting with a potential LASIK surgeon and his facility staff. It is important that you feel valued and well cared for in order to have the best experience possible.