/ LASIK & Realistic Results
LASIK & Realistic Results
Sorting out “marketing propaganda” from unbiased
“evidence-based” information on the Internet
by Craig S. Bindi, MD
On this page, I highlight the most common topics that may be misrepresented by
“fairy-tale” type advertisements and provide links to detailed evidence-based information.
Dry Eyes: Being bothered by “Dry Eyes” is one the most common problems that I treat
in my ophthalmology practice, especially immediately after LASIK. Luckily, when managed
systematically and proactively, these symptoms should be very treatable and temporary.
For a detailed description, Read the Info Library topic: ‘LASIK & Dry Eyes’
Night vision: If you talk to friends that had LASIK many years ago, they may describe seeing
halos or glare at night. More advanced technology has greatly reduced the incidence and
severity of these problems. With modern Wavefront LASIK technology, studies show that
it is ten times more likely for patients to see better at night after LASIK than they did before
LASIK with glasses/contacts. To read about the results of a pertinent scientific study
on this topic, Read the Info Library topic: ‘LASIK & Night Vision’
LASIK Side Effects & Complications: As a surgeon, safety is my single most important concern.
I intentionally make every effort to make laser vision correction as safe as possible. The best
way that I know to avoid complications is carefully screen patients prior to surgery, use the
best technology with meticulous surgical technique, and to be personally involved with the
follow-up care of my patients. Read the Info Library topic: ‘LASIK & Safety’
Accuracy & Enhancements: The goal of laser vision correction is to eliminate one’s
complete dependence on glasses/contact lenses. For most patients this is a very realistic goal.
But, even in the best of hands, LASIK is not 100% accurate (on the first attempt). After
undergoing LASIK/Epi-LASIK, if a patient still has some residual near-sightedness,
farsightedness or astigmatism, a re-treatment procedure can fine-tune one’s vision,
if desired and appropriate. All objective data reveals that the possibility of a LASIK
re-treatment ranges from 2% to 10%. There is a higher chance or needing a re-treatment
in patients that have a larger correction, use standard (non-wavefront) LASIK technology,
or have a less “detail-oriented” surgeon. The re-treatment rate with standard LASIK
ranges from 5-10%. Though standard LASIK has a long track record for effectiveness,
newer Wavefront LASIK methods have improved the accuracy of LASIK, and reduced
the possibility of a re-treatment to about 2% to 4% (even with a great surgeon and best
technology in 2013). In reality, this is a very low percentage and there is no other surgical
procedure that can rival the accurate results of LASIK/Epi-LASIK. In my ophthalmology
practice, I make every effort to get it right the first time.
Permanence: How long does LASIK last? While laser vision correction does permanently
reshape the cornea, other age-related eye changes may eventually occur that can cause vision
to decline. On average, LASIK results in clear vision for about ten years or so. If your vision ever
becomes unsatisfactory (or declines sooner than you had hoped), we have set up our
Wavefront Vision Warranty for your peace of mind.
Near Vision: For patients who are over 40, you should become familiar with the natural
age-related condition, called Presbyopia, in which one’s near vision begins to gradually
worsen with age. If you use bifocals, trifocals, progressive lenses, reading glasses or need
to take off your distance glasses for close work, read the Info Library topic: ‘LASIK & Near Vision’
Alternatives: LASIK is not for everyone. While our practice has become well known for LASIK
procedures, our professional staff of vision specialists will be able to help if another procedure,
such as lens implants, is a better choice for you. To learn about alternatives and contraindications
to LASIK, Read the Info Library topic: ‘Do Not Have LASIK If…’
Conclusion: After considering potential downsides, we should also consider the most common
results. The usual LASIK results are quite remarkable, just like your friends have told you!
In one clinical trial conducted for the United States FDA, it was shown that 98% of patients that
underwent Wavefront LASIK could see “20/20 or better” without glasses after LASIK. In this study,
100% of these patients could see “20/40 or better” after wavefront LASIK, which is good enough
to pass the DMV test in California. In another nationwide survey of over 1,800 LASIK patients,
99% reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their results.