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Seeing through Common LASIK Fallacies

Seeing through Common LASIK Fallacies


Flip through a newspaper, turn on the radio, or watch some television and chances are you will encounter an advertisement for LASIK Laser Vision Correction. Flashy pictures, marquee prices, and catchy slogans are common, but finding the best place to have your LASIK usually requires a little more research. The following are some common fallacies that should be understood before choosing a provider for your LASIK surgery. While many of the ads promise experienced doctors, the latest technology, and a strong commitment to patient care, let's take a closer look at what those things really mean.

The first common fallacy goes something like this: "The laser does all the work, so the experience of the surgeon is a secondary concern." The facts are actually quite different. The creation of the LASIK flap is a crucial aspect of the procedure and one that requires a skillful surgeon to achieve the best result. When the laser is applied, its accuracy is contingent on the information programmed by the doctors and technical staff of the eye center. In the event of a complication, an experienced surgeon can react quickly and efficiently to minimize any undesirable side effects. This is why it is imperative to ask how many LASIK procedures your would-be surgeon has performed. Please note that this is not the same as the number of surgeries that the company has performed. A large company may boast of thousands of LASIK procedures completed worldwide, but how experienced is the doctor who will be doing your particular surgery?

The next common fallacy or cliché to beware of in LASIK advertising is: " We have the latest, state-of-the-art equipment." This type of statement may often be nothing more than a personal opinion or an oversimplified generalization. The fact is that there are various companies that produce excimer lasers with different operational features, and if you were to call any one of those companies they would tell you why their equipment is "the best." Be sure that you ask for more information about an eye center's laser, with details on relevant features and potential benefits to the patient. Does the laser feature a treatment zone that's adequate for the size of your pupils, to make night vision problems less likely? How effective has a particular laser been in treating patients with your level of astigmatism? These are the kinds of questions that you can ask to ensure that you are getting the best equipment to meet your individual needs.

The third common fallacy in LASIK advertising involves "a lifetime guarantee." The big question about a claim like this is whether it refers to the life of the patient, or the company. Beware of new companies that suddenly offer to take care of you for the rest of your life. Many of these companies have gone out of business, leaving the patient stranded.

The question then becomes, "is the LASIK procedure permanent, or will I have to have it again?" The effect of LASIK does not go away with time. However, many people have small changes in the prescription of their glasses from time to time and if such a change is going to occur it will do so whether the person has had LASIK or not. People also experience changes in their vision caused by a natural aging of the eye. When a surgeon performs a follow-up surgery to fine-tune the results of the original LASIK procedure, this is known as an "enhancement." There are various factors that determine whether an enhancement is appropriate in any given situation, and it would be premature to guarantee that an enhancement could be performed prior to evaluating the results of the original surgery.

While a quality LASIK procedure should definitely include postoperative care and possible enhancements for a reasonable amount of time, a more practical commitment to patient satisfaction probably begins before the surgery -- at the information gathering stage. Does the eye center provide a comprehensive personal evaluation? Do they review your exact circumstances and provide a realistic expectation for your results? Do they offer information on alternative procedures for which you may be better suited? In short, do they provide all the details you need to make an informed decision about advanced vision correction? The most satisfied patients after the LASIK procedure are usually the ones that received comprehensive information and the appropriate screening before going into the laser room.

The next time you see or hear an advertisement for LASIK surgery, remember to keep the information in perspective. Marketing professionals have a brief opportunity to grab your attention while you page through a magazine or before you switch the radio station. Their ads are designed to get you to contact the sponsoring eye center. What they cannot do in a quarter-page layout, or a 30-second spot, is provide all the information that you need to make an informed decision about your LASIK Laser Vision Correction. The responsibility for getting these facts rests with you. Take the time to shop around and get your questions answered. Request information about the doctor's credentials, company policies, and the experience of the counselor who is evaluating your candidacy and answering your questions. Valuable insight may also be gained by consulting previous LASIK patients from eye centers you are considering. References should be available upon request.

There can be a temptation to jump at the lowest price advertised, but that reaction should be avoided, as it rarely results in the highest quality care. LASIK Laser Vision Correction can be a wonderful, life changing procedure. With a little research and the right questions, you can find an experienced provider that will maximize your chances for a great result.

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