Did you know that in the US alone, there are a whopping 18,000 Ophthalmologists?
And every year, half of them carry out cataract surgeries!
And no, that doesn’t even include LASIK, which treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Nearsightedness alone affects 34 million Americans, and another 14 million suffer from farsightedness.
If you’re one of these people, then know that only a LASIK surgeon can carry out your procedure. Not all Ophthalmologists have the training and experience to perform LASIK.
Now the question is, how exactly do you choose the best eye surgeon for LASIK? What qualifications and traits should you look for?
We’ll answer all these questions in this post, so be sure to keep reading!
Ophthalmologists Licensed by the State
State licensure is one of the first things you should look for in your potential LASIK doctor. This is because only state-licensed Ophthalmologists can perform LASIK surgery.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have the license to practice medicine and surgery. They’ve gone through a minimum of eight years of additional medical training. Only after meeting these educational requirements will an ophthalmologist receive licensure.
Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology
Dedicated Ophthalmologists are also certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. It’s one of the entities recognized by the Board of Medical Specialties.
A board-certified Ophthalmologist means that an eye surgeon has satisfied specialization requirements. These include taking continuing education and undergoing specialization-specific training.
For instance, some LASIK surgeons “subspecialize” in specific areas like glaucoma and retina. This subspecialization allows them to perform eye surgeries on patients with special cases.
Professional Affiliations (And a Member in Good Standing)
One example is the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The AAO is the largest association of eye doctors and surgeons around the world. The organization sets the standards for high-quality ophthalmic education and eye care.
To become an AAO member, one has to go through rigorous screening methods. Once a member, an eye physician or surgeon needs to live by and advocate the AAO’s standards.
That’s why it’s best to choose a LASIK surgeon who’s an AAO member in good standing. By doing so, you can rest easy knowing that your surgeon is one of the best in their field.
Another affiliation to look for is the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons. This is a professional society consisting of licensed and board-certified eye surgeons.
An Impressive Outcome Rate
The best LASIK eye surgeons have performed numerous surgeries with satisfied patients. The more surgeries the doctor has under their belt, the more at ease you may feel. Also, more patients mean more references who can confirm the doctor’s ability.
That said, choose a doctor whose majority of patients achieved a 20/20 vision. In cases of 20/40 results, feel free to ask the doctor why perfect acuity wasn’t achieved. It’s possible that the patient’s unique case prevented it and not due to an unsuccessful surgery.
Speaking of references, don’t hesitate to ask the doctor for some of them. And be sure to contact these patients and ask them about their experience with the doctor. Ask them about the current state of their vision too, if they’re happy with it, or if they’ve had any side effects.
Trustworthy Referrals (Testimonials)
With up to 800,000 LASIK procedures completed in the US every year, you may know someone who underwent it. If you can trust this person’s judgment, then ask for the name of their eye surgeon. Ask how comfortable the doctor has made them and if they achieved their desired results.
Also, take note of multiple recommendations. Multiple referrals are a solid sign of a LASIK surgeon’s experience, skills, and ability. Having made many patients happy is an indication that you’ll be happy with your own surgery too.
Friendly and Caring Staff Members
The LASIK surgeon won’t be the only person you’ll deal with — the doctor’s staff will also be a part of your entire surgery. They’ll help you fill out patient forms and schedule your surgery. They’ll answer your basic questions such as how to prepare for the procedure and what to do after.
While they may not perform the surgery itself, they’ll still play a huge part in your procedure. That’s why you should also factor in how they make you feel.
Are they caring, attentive, and do they answer your questions in a way that you’ll easily understand? Or do they seem to be in a hurry, brushing aside most of your concerns?
Remember, LASIK surgery isn’t a one-time process — you’ll still visit your doctor for check-ups. So, you want to choose a team with people who will make you feel comfortable. They should make you feel that you are in good hands from the moment you enter the facility.
Few Cases of Patients Needing Enhancements
LASIK surgeon has exceptional success rates, but some people may still need enhancements. Each person, after all, has unique surgical requirements and needs.
As you’re choosing a LASIK doctor, don’t just look at their 20/20 vision success rate. Ask about the percentage of patients who only achieved 20/40 vision, which is still great by the way. You should also inquire about the number of patients who had to return for enhancements.
These questions will help you gauge the actual success rate of the eye surgeon. And if they have patients who returned for enhancements, be sure to ask why they had the need to. Ask what the doctor’s enhancement procedures are as well.
Beyond the Typical Credentials: What Else to Look for in a LASIK Surgeon
As crucial as verifying a surgeon’s credentials are, they’re not the only factors that should influence your decision. In case you can’t undergo LASIK, for instance, you’d want to know if you can at least benefit from another type of eye surgery. You should also factor in the cost of your surgery, and if there’s any way to make it easier to afford.
That said, here are a few other things to look for in your prospective eye surgeon.
Specializes in Other Forms of Refractive Surgery
From the very beginning, LASIK surgery had a high success rate, with 90% of patients achieving 20/40 vision. Today, 99.5% of eyes treated with LASIK has achieved visual acuity greater than 20/40. Improvements in laser technology have also led to a 98.8% patient satisfaction rate.
The only drawback to this eye surgery is that it’s not for everyone. For instance, glaucoma may affect a patient’s eligibility for LASIK. In this case, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) surgery may be a better option.
Fortunately, the best LASIK eye surgeons also specialize in PRK surgery. It’s a refractive surgery that came before LASIK and is a good option for people with glaucoma. It can also correct moderate cases of astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness.
Provides Free Consultation
Considering that LASIK isn’t for everyone, you should schedule an appointment with a LASIK surgeon to determine right away if you’re a candidate. However, some doctors may charge consultation fees to check your eyesight and visual acuity. You may have to undergo tests that require out-of-pocket expenses.
The good news is, the most reputable LASIK surgeons won’t charge you for the initial consultation.
That’s right! They offer to check if you’re a good LASIK candidate for free.
So, before setting up an appointment with any surgeon, ask about their initial consultation fees first. This way, you can avoid paying for something that you may or may not be qualified for.
Find the Best LASIK Eye Surgeon Now
There you have it, your ultimate guide to finding the best LASIK surgeon. Keep in mind that LASIK, as high as its success rates are, still depends on the experience and skills of the surgeon. So, be sure to follow the tips listed here to find the best eye surgeon who can give you a successful surgery.
And don’t forget to talk to the doctor about your financing options! This way, you can make your eye surgery as pocket-friendly as possible.
Ready to say goodbye to fuzzy, blurry vision but still not sure which treatment is best for you? Then it’s time to check if you’re a good candidate for LASIK! Please feel free to connect with us for a free consultation!