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October 19, 2010

Statement from the American Academy of Ophthalmology regarding the LASIK Quality of Life Collaboration Project

While multiple studies have documented that LASIK surgery is safe and effective and has an excellent patient satisfaction rate, more research into the post-LASIK patient experience is a welcome addition. The Academy anticipates that the LASIK Quality of Life Collaboration Project will affirm that the vast majority of patients are happy with their outcomes. The Academy feels that analysis of the study data may help further refine optimal patient selection and preoperative counseling. The project is being conducted by the FDA, National Eye Institute and the Department of Defense.

Numerous published studies have shown that 95 percent of patients are satisfied with their LASIK outcomes. Many of those who are not initially satisfied may have experienced issues such as glare, halos and dry eye, which usually diminish with time. Sometimes a patient's vision is unintentionally under-corrected or over-corrected, and a surgical "touchup" may be recommended to achieve optimal results.

As with any surgery, there are risks involved with LASIK, even if the risk is generally low. Patients must weigh the benefits and risks carefully before deciding to undergo any surgery.  Our duty as physicians is to help our patients understand all of the factors that go into making this decision. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has developed free patient education materials and patient consent forms that explain the details of the surgery and the possible side effects; they can be found at www.geteyesmart.org.

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