Most Patients Happy With LASIK Outcomes

15-year review shows only a minority have complaints

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THURSDAY, Aug. 26, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Most people in the United States who have LASIK surgery are satisfied with the results, according to a 15-year review of clinical trials on the vision-correcting procedure.

"Basically, this confirms our own clinical experience: patients are happy, patients turn out well," study lead author Dr. Ballamurali Ambati, an ophthalmologist and corneal specialist at the Medical College of Georgia, said in a prepared statement.

More patient education before surgery could address the complaints of a minority of patients who express discontent with LASIK, the report added.

The review appears in the August issue of the journal Current Opinions in Ophthalmology.

In LASIK, surgeons reshape the cornea to help the eye better focus incoming light as it reaches the surface of the retina.

Ambati's team found that 94 percent of the patients in the trials achieved at least 20/20 vision following LASIK, with 98 percent achieving 20/25 vision or better. Almost all of the patients said they would recommend the procedure to a friend.

Problems with night vision, including night glare, can lead to patient discontent with LASIK. The review found that about 25 percent of patients experience some night vision problems in the first few weeks after their surgery. About 18 percent feel their ability to drive at night is impaired in the weeks following LASIK. For most patients, night vision problems disappear within a few months, however.

The review also concluded that pre-LASIK education is essential for patients over age 40. They need to understand that LASIK cannot correct both far- and near-sightedness in older patients. Also, there may be problems with contrast sensitivity. Explaining the limits of LASIK may help avoid patient dissatisfaction, Ambati said.

More information

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has more about LASIK.

SOURCE: Medical College of Georgia, news release, Aug. 18, 2004

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