LASIK Patient Satisfaction Skyrockets from 60% to 96% Thanks to New Technology and Screening Techniques

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 27-Feb-2015

LASIK eye surgery has been performed for nearly twenty years in the U.S., and recent findings from two FDA studies (PROWL-1 and PROWL-2) reveal that more than 96 percent of patients are satisfied with their results three months after surgery. According to Key-Whitman Eye Center’s President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., “Satisfaction rates would have been even higher had survey respondents been questioned after follow up enhancements were performed.”

If you take a closer look at the current numbers, the 96+ percent were those patients who realized 20/20 vision post-surgery. Of those who couldn’t see 20/20, the results (prior to any follow-up enhancements) were still exceedingly good. According to a report on the findings in Ocular Surgery News, U.S. Edition (OSN) last month, no eyes in either of the PROWL studies “had BCVA (best-corrected visual acuity) worse than 20/40.” Says Dr. Whitman, “The biggest reason people were dissatisfied was either that their vision wasn’t fully corrected or they had a slight treatment regression.”

What’s even more exciting is the giant leap forward in patient satisfaction compared to earlier studies. In the OSN report, Kerry D. Solomon, M.D., OSN Refractive Surgery Board Member states, “The visual outcomes are the best prospective outcomes that have been reported … In fact, if you look at the [earlier] data, I think our 20/20 rate was around 60 percent, compared to 99 percent and 96 percent with this current study.”

Common side effects actually IMPROVE post-surgery

Just as encouraging as the patients’ high satisfaction with vision correction is the finding that the side effects scaring some people away from LASIK in the past – glare, starbursts, halos and night driving issues – were actually less than they were preoperatively. Another critical finding reported in the OSN piece is in the past both “poor visual outcomes and symptoms” were often a result of “poor patient screening and selection.”

Dr. Whitman explains how the LASIK prescreening process works.

Dr. Whitman can’t stress enough the importance of the prescreening process. “While LASIK is a terrific option for many of our patients, some people just flat out are not good candidates for LASIK. Fortunately, with the modern equipment and technology we have available at Key-Whitman today, we can rule out patients much better today than we could 10 or 20 years ago,” he says.

The PROWL studies support Dr. Whitman’s approach. He adds, “While not every person can expect to realize 20/20 vision correction after LASIK – or even be a candidate for LASIK – our patients have more vision correction options available now than ever before. Other options we offer include ICL or Intraocular Contact Lens, PRK and corneal inlays. Prospective patients should be cautious however and ask if their provider offers these other options.”

Prescreening and treatment of eye issues prior to LASIK improves outcomes

“One of the reasons some patients had less than satisfactory LASIK results in the past was when their eye doctor either overlooked or didn’t have the technology available for screening for certain eye diseases and conditions, which can interfere with an optimum LASIK outcome. Today, if a patient is suffering from dry eye symptoms, irregular corneal surface, retinal tears or other problems that we can diagnose and treat successfully, then they may eventually be a good candidate for LASIK surgery,” Dr. Whitman says.

Full-service eye centers like Key-Whitman also offer Intraocular Contact Lens (ICL) implants and Photoreactive Keratectomy (PRK), which is similar to LASIK but may be safer for patients with thin corneas and other issues. Some patients who have undergone successful cataract surgery may also be candidates for a current clinical trial for a new corneal inlay designed to correct nearsightedness.

LASIK candidates have little to be fearful about today

At the end of the day, Dr. Whitman hopes the results of the FDA PROWL studies will help put people’s fears about LASIK to rest. Says Dr. Whitman, “The No. 1 concern I hear from patients is that they are afraid of having surgery on their eyes. It’s not money, it’s not the technology, and it’s not that they don’t believe the surgery works. Some patients are just afraid to have the surgery done.”

With the PROWL study results in hand, LASIK eye surgeons should be able to reduce fear and give patients a renewed set of confidence about the effectiveness of the procedure as well as the bonus of reducing the glare, halo and starburst side effects in many patients post-surgery.

Dr. Whitman finds that listening to patients’ concerns and educating them about what to expect helps put his patients’ minds at ease. “We make it very clear to patients how LASIK works, when they can expect their vision to improve and share one of the most important points, that they shouldn’t have pain during or after the procedure. The patient also learns what steps they need to take after surgery to help ensure their eyes heal properly (medications, eye drops, follow-up visits, etc.).”

Leading-edge LASIK technology reduces healing time, improves accuracy

Asking LASIK eye surgeons about the technologies they use in LASIK can help patients make an informed decision. “At Key-Whitman we use lasers for the two key steps in the LASIK procedure, creating the flap and reshaping the cornea – no blades are used at all. Because we use the fastest and most advanced lasers available in the world, less heat is generated, which reduces inflammation and healing time. This new LASIK technology is also more precise than earlier lasers, which is another reason our patient outcomes have improved,” Dr. Whitman says.

Dr. Whitman explains what he loves most about being a LASIK eye surgeon.
(NOTE: LASIK results will vary from patient to patient, and as with any surgical procedure, outcomes cannot be guaranteed.)
If you ever have the opportunity to meet Dr. Whitman or hear him talk about the LASIK or cataract surgeries he regularly performs, you won’t catch a bigger smile on his face than when he talks about patient outcomes. He really loves helping people improve their vision. “It’s great to see my patients’ faces after surgery, when they can see 20/20 again and know they get to throw their glasses away.”* For Dr. Whitman, it’s all in a day’s work. * As with any surgical procedure, LASIK surgery is not suitable for everyone, not without risks and 20/20 vision following the surgery cannot be guaranteed. To find out if you’re a good candidate for LASIK, speak with your ophthalmologist.
Categories: LASIK
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