Position Statement on LASIK Eye Surgery
A recent article in the New York Times suggests there are new issues regarding LASIK’s safety and efficacy (“Blurred Vision, Burning Eyes: This Is a Lasik Success?”, June 11). The story included a few anecdotal examples while essentially ignoring over 2 decades of peer-reviewed literature on outcomes of LASIK. LASIK’s safety and efficacy are well-documented by an enormous amount of scientific research including US Food and Drug Administration clinical trials, as well as recent National Eye Institute sponsored studies on patient reported outcomes on quality of life after LASIK that was performed in military and also at academic centers and private practices in the US.1
At Wills Eye Hospital, we understand that no surgery is without risk. However, LASIK is a procedure with excellent results for those who are good candidates. We do not mean to discount or disregard any untoward symptoms of patients after LASIK, which while uncommon, can be severe. We agree with the article’s conclusion that patients need to understand the risks of all surgery, especially elective surgery such as LASIK. We believe a consultation from a highly-qualified, board-certified surgeon is the best way to achieve that understanding. At Wills Eye, we perform comprehensive evaluations, including extensive diagnostic testing, to determine whether patients are good candidates for refractive surgery such as LASIK. If they are, our surgeons discuss the refractive surgery options, along with their expected benefits and potential risks, prior to proceeding with surgery. We firmly believe that in the right hands, for the right patients, refractive surgery, including LASIK, is a safe and effective procedure for the vast majority of patients.
Eydelman M, Hilmantel G, Tarver ME, Hofmeister EM, May J, Hammel K, Hays RD, Ferris F 3rd. Symptoms and Satisfaction of Patients in the Patient-Reported Outcomes With Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (PROWL) Studies. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017 Jan 1;135(1):13-22.
John D. Dugan, Jr. MD, Attending Surgeon and Co-Director
Christopher J. Rapuano, MD, Chief, Cornea Service and Co-Director
Wills Eye Department of Refractive Surgery
The Cornea Service
The Cataract and Primary Eye Care Service
Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, PA