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Nearsightedness: Questions to Ask About Surgery

Topic Overview

Look for an eye doctor who has done a lot of refractive surgeries. Doctors who are affiliated with a medical school or major eye clinic may have better access to the latest procedures and technology. In most cases, an ophthalmologist, not an optometrist, will do the eye surgery.

If you are thinking about having surgery:

  • Consider getting an independent second opinion by talking to an ophthalmologist who would not be doing the refractive surgery itself but could evaluate you as a candidate for surgery and recommend a surgeon.
  • Look for an eye surgeon who has taken several courses in the procedure (not just a single course) and who has done at least 25 to 30 procedures. Ask what the success rate has been in these procedures. And ask how satisfied the patients were with the results.
  • Choose an eye surgeon who will personally handle your care and follow-up after surgery.
  • Ask about your risk of halo or glare.
  • Ask whether you can look through lenses that will duplicate the amount of undercorrection the surgeon expects you will still have after surgery.
  • Ask whether you will be able to wear contact lenses to correct the remaining undercorrection. Some people are not able to wear contact lenses after surgery.
  • Ask whether the price of the surgery will cover a repeat procedure if the first procedure undercorrects or overcorrects too much.
  • In the case of radial keratotomy (RK), ask whether the surgeon plans to wait at least 6 weeks before operating on the second eye. That way, any unexpected results in the first eye will be less likely to be repeated in the second eye.
  • In the case of LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of correcting both eyes on the same day compared with doing one eye at a time on separate days.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Last Revised June 11, 2013

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