What to Ask your LASIK Surgeon
You’ve learned that asking a LASIK surgeon simple or tough question is
very necessary if you are considering a vision correction surgery like LASIK. So, after you find a surgeon, set an
appointment with him or her for a consultation. Note in the first place that the consultation is a very important
meeting. To take full advantage of it, simply think for some questions you might want to ask and write down every
single question you can think of. And, during your visit, don’t hesitate to ask every single one.
Here are some important questions to ask a refractive surgeon:
• How long have you been conducting refractive surgery procedures? (Please note his answer as LASIK surgery in
particular has been around only for a few years. Not more than 10 years. But, in general, he or she must have
performed refractive surgeries not less than three years.)
• How many total procedures have you done? (The answer must be not less than 500.)
• How many refractive procedures of the exact type you intend to use for me, with the same equipment, and the same
refractive error, have you performed?
• What percent of your refractive surgery patients receive Snellen Uncorrected Visual Acuity (UCVA) of 20/40 or
better? (Most of the experts suggest that you should be suspicious of any number that is greater than 90 percent,
which is the norm.)
• What percentage of your patients attained 20/20 vision or better? (Note that the norm here is around 50 percent.
So, ask for a proof if a higher number is stated.)
• What percent of your refractive surgery patient report unresolved complications six moths after the surgery? This
includes objective and subjective complications like starburst, halos, glare, dry eye syndrome, and others. (Note
that less than 3 percent is the norm according to the Quality Standards Advisory Committee (QSAC). So, if the
surgeon gives a lower number, ask for proof. Zero or a nebulous “almost never” should be cause for concern.
Remember that no surgeon is perfect, thus no surgical procedure is perfect.)
• Will you give me the named and contact information of at least ten previous patients you have had the exact same
refractive procedure with the same refractive error? (See if he or she can provide you the names.)
• Have you ever had malpractice insurance coverage denied?
• Have you had your license to conduct a refractive surgery revoked, restricted or suspended?
• Is the laser and equipment you will use specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the
recommended procedure and intended parameters? If no, explain why it is not FDA approved or off label use.
• If an enhancement surgery is required, what will you charge for the additional procedure? (The answer for this
question should be no charge for an enhancement within a specified period of time, usually about a year after
surgery. However, if there is a charge, just consider the affordability if needed.)
As you may notice, all of the recommended questions are tough questions that some may consider difficult or even
rude to ask. So, do not just expect that your prospective surgeon will respond with the suggested answers. Also use
your common sense. Ask those questions to measure the doctor’s willingness to respond as much as the response.
Always remember that your precious vision depends on your surgeon’s competency. Thus, you need to be confident that
you have picked up the right person. If in the end, you are not happy with the answers to your questions, look and
consult another eye surgeon.
In addition to the above mentioned concerns, you as a patient should also need to consider the surgeon’s competency
as well as versatility in a number of refractive procedures. Note that the commonly performed LASIK is not the only
game in town and it is not the best procedure for every person. Therefore, choose an eye surgeon who is comfortable
and experienced with several other procedures, like PRK, LASEK, CK and clean lens replacement, including some of
the latest technologies. If you find out that your prospective doctor is knowledgeable enough about these
procedures inside and out, then he is likely confident to choose the procedure that will best answer your vision
problems. And, if you are considering a surgeon who doesn’t perform a particular procedure that you are interested
in, he or she should be able to explain why not beyond the line “I don’t do that.”