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    Editor’s Blog: LASIK is positive, safe procedure; misconceptions persist

    As part of Ophthalmology Times’ coverage of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting, Editor-in-Chief Mark L. Dlugoss will post blogs with his observations of the meeting.

    For live coverage of ASCRS, follow @OphthTimes on Twitter.

    San Francisco—After 20 years and more than 16 million LASIK procedures, overall patient satisfaction for the procedure is high, but misconceptions and patient education are areas that still need improvement.

    These are the main points that surfaced from the American Refractive Surgery Council's (ARSC) first LASIK Survey. The results were released during the annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

    The survey found that LASIK is still the most popular elective surgery among consumers, and patients who have received the procedure would recommend it to others. Respondents say that LASIK is extremely safe and effective, and their satisfaction of the procedure increases over time.

    Misconceptions and fear, however, may be creating barriers to LASIK, which leads to patients delaying their decision to have the procedure or deciding not to have it all together, the survey found.

    The survey polled 310 U.S. adults who were considering LASIK and another 122 who have had the procedure. The survey was conducted in September 2012.

    Here are some of the interest points derived from the survey:

    • More than 80% of respondents who wear spectacles or contact lenses are considering LASIK. However, only 2% have consulted a LASIK surgeon.

    • The top reason respondents cited for not having LASIK was concern for a possible second procedure.

    • Few survey respondents have concerns over LASIK's healing process. Yet, there were significant concerns over side effects, which surgeons know are rare.

    • Cost is still the primary factor for NOT having a LASIK procedure, according to 84% of the survey respondents.

    The survey reconfirms that ophthalmology still needs to do a better job of getting the word out that LASIK is a procedure that provides a positive effect on lives. The survey also found that physicians and eye-care professionals play a strong role in the decision to have LASIK.

    The key for physicians is to educate potential patients with clarity and consistency so as to reduce the confusion and misconceptions associated with LASIK. As a clinician, physicians should explain LASIK in the right context for patients' lives. They need to ask the right questions of their patients, and choose the proper vision correction that works best for the patients.

    A declining economy is not carrying weight as reason for the declining number of LASIK procedures. These survey results appear to tell a different story.

    For more articles in this issue of Ophthalmology Times Conference Brief, click here.

     

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