June 2017




Chief medical editor’s corner of the world
LASIK is alive and well

by Eric Donnenfeld, MD, EyeWorld chief medical editor



LASIK is the procedure that the vast majority of our patients think of when they consider vision correction surgery. This fact speaks to the wild success that is and continues to be the LASIK procedure and how it has captured the imagination of the public—with good reason.
LASIK has never been better, in terms of accuracy, quality of vision, and safety. We have a lot of new evidence to support that reality. A global scientific literature review of LASIK research by Kerry Solomon, MD, collected more than 4,400 published clinical works using modern technology and techniques. The results serve as the foundation for the updated global patient satisfaction rate of more than 98%, the highest of any surgical procedure. The PROWL study showed us that overwhelmingly, visual symptoms of glare, halo, starbursting, and ghosting are better without glasses after LASIK than with the patient’s best spectacle correction prior to surgery.
But one procedure does not suit all patients, so innovation in refractive surgery continues. Today, our collective spirit of progress is represented in SMILE to offer a surgical option to some of our myopic patients who may not be candidates for LASIK or PRK. We have every right to celebrate this latest achievement, particularly if it means more of our patients can benefit from better vision without relying on corrective lenses. What we cannot afford to do is diminish LASIK while we celebrate SMILE.
With a stellar 20-year track record and enormous brand recognition, LASIK is how vision correction prospects enter the life cycle of refractive procedures. It is what they know. Fostering an expanded consumer understanding and confidence in LASIK helps the entire spectrum of vision correction options become more approachable, desirable, and accessible.
In this we must remain unified if we are to grow, rather than segment, the market. Fortunately, we have been working to develop resources to help physicians join in the effort. Many are aware of the American Refractive Surgery Council, but for those who are not, I invite you to visit the website and blog ARSC Insight (americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org/blog/).
ARSC, working with ASCRS, is doing something no other entity in our industry is doing: amassing and analyzing the vast conversation about LASIK happening online without the filter of brand, technology, technique, or practice. In doing so, they have developed unique insights into the intents and interests of consumers in the LASIK conversation. From those insights, ARSC develops high-quality content that responds to the interests and issues that matter in a voice that is not only authoritative, but relevant to patients. Today, that content is available for practices to post, share, and otherwise use in their channels. In doing so, practices can become a part of a unified effort to educate and expand consumers’ understanding about vision correction options.
For many of us, much of refractive surgery’s allure is founded in the pursuit of innovation and improvement. We encourage change, and we have a proud tradition of delivering new technology and procedures designed to help our patients see the world in the best way possible. The refractive journey began, for all intents and purposes, with LASIK. Today that journey has many paths for patients, including phakic IOLs, PRK, inlays, and SMILE.
What remains the same is our charge and responsibility to evaluate all patients with an open mind. Listen to their unique circumstances and how they experience vision in their lives and lifestyle. Help them voice their own vision goals, shape them with the data we collect from their diagnostics, physical examinations, and our expertise, and provide them with the information they need to make an educated decision for themselves. In some cases, we can help them dream bigger for themselves; in others, we need to temper expectations, and even just say “no.” We must identify the procedure that serves the best interests of the patient, even if it isn’t in our personal skill set. Ensuring the highest quality of care is the best medicine for the refractive sector.

Contact information

Donnenfeld: ericdonnenfeld@gmail.com

LASIK is alive and well LASIK is alive and well
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