Top 10 Questions to Ask When Shopping For a LASIK Surgeon

by Tara Pingle - Date: 2007-04-13 - Word Count: 728 Share This!

When shopping for a LASIK surgeon, the cost should not be your first question. Why not? Well, surprisingly low quotes will almost certainly turn out to be higher, and if they don't you can assume that cheap or outdated equipment was used, and/or shortcuts taken. A reliable and competent LASIK surgeon must invest in expensive equipment in order to deliver the best results for you. Besides that, you have one pair of eyes to last for life; don't you want to give them the best treatment there is?

Here are the most important questions to ask your prospective LASIK surgeons (and yes, you should interview several before deciding on one).

Will you be doing the entire process yourself?

You don't want to be shuffled off to an assistant, or someone in training. It's best to have your chosen doctor be the one who examines you to begin with, decides on the treatment plan, does the LASIK procedure, and follows up with you afterwards. That way you know you'll be in consistently good hands.

How many LASIK procedures have you performed?

The answer to listen for is a number over 500, and preferably over 1,000. LASIK surgeons use computers to guide the laser beam, but who programs the computer? You want someone with plenty of experience at creating treatment plans, carrying them out, witnessing the results, and dealing with any problems that might have arisen. If you know the name of the particular type of LASIK procedure you'll be having, ask how many times the surgeon has performed that specific procedure.

Where did you receive your training?

There are many tertiary institutions which train doctors in how to do LASIK. You could contact the relevant institution to ask about the surgeon's academic career and performance.

Can you give me some references?

Most established LASIK surgeons can put you in touch with some of their previous patients, who will tell you about their experience and results.

What professional associations do you belong to?

A doctor who has several professional memberships is more likely to be keeping up to date and in touch with his or her peers. It's best to have a LASIK surgeon who is enthusiastic enough about his work to pay for those memberships, to go to professional events, possibly take advanced or specialized training, and maybe even write journal articles or books about LASIK vision correction surgery.

If I have questions as we go, will you have time to answer them?

All doctors are busy people, but an organized and responsible doctor will have time to spend with you, to answer questions, calm fears, explain procedures, and clarify details. If you choose a LASIK surgeon who inspires your confidence, you can be calmer about the whole procedure, and will most likely follow his instructions at each step of the way, which will be to your benefit.

What is the name of the equipment you use?

You may not recognize the names, but write them down and do a little research afterwards. Get the full names, not just the company name, because there are often improved models developed and you wouldn't want a surgeon who is still using old equipment when precision is the name of the game in eye surgery.

What sort of follow-up will there be?

There should be a minimum of four follow-up visits so the surgeon can check on your vision improvement. Ask if this same surgeon will do your follow-up too. Ask whether there might be follow-up procedures possible if you are not happy with the initial results.

How often is the microkeratome incisor changed?

The microkeratome is a surgical instrument which cuts the little corneal flap so that the laser can work on the next layer down, the stroma. The incisor should be fresh for every patient. There are some "LASIK factories", which process large numbers of patients as quickly as they can, and keep costs down in many ways, so as to make a bigger profit. Re-using the incisor is sometimes a way of keeping costs down.

What financing plans do you offer?

Although we warned you away from cost questions at the beginning of this article, of course you need to ask about it. Just don't make cost your decisive factor in choosing the surgeon. Most LASIK surgeons offer several ways of financing the procedure, so choose one with a plan that fits your budget and timeframe. Remember that in the long run, you'll be glad you paid for quality work.

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For more information on LASIK surgery and available surgeons, click here to contact a LASIK surgeon.

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