American Academy Of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting 2015 Barraquer Lecture: “LASIK Myths And Realities”

This year’s Barraquer Lecture was given by Eric Donnenfeld, MD, Rockville Centre, N.Y., on LASIK. The aim of his lecture was to explore the myths and realities of the LASIK procedure using an evidenced-based approach and to evaluate upcoming advancements.

Dr. Donnenfeld highlighted 6 major myths that people associate with LASIK. The first was that physicians would not have LASIK on their own eyes. The second was that the long-term effects of LASIK are not known. The third was that contact lenses are safer than LASIK. The fourth myth was that LASIK significantly increases the risk of a patient having glare and halo. The fifth myth was that the safety and efficacy of LASIK has not improved over time. And the last myth Dr. Donnenfeld pointed out was the dry eye is extremely common following LASIK.

Dr. Donnenfeld responded to the myths at the end of his lecture. In terms of physicians not wanting to have LASIK themselves, he said that he knows a large number of physicians who have had LASIK.

As far as not knowing long-term effects of LASIK, Dr. Donnenfeld said that the procedure has a 20-year track record and long-term studies have shown refractive stability and safety.

He said that contact lenses are not necessarily safer than LASIK, as daily wear and extended wear contact lenses are likely less safe than LASIK if worn over a 30-year period. Dr. Donnenfeld said that, when considering the misconceptions about glare and halo, modern LASIK actually improves on these 2 things rather than making them worse.

The fifth myth that Dr. Donnenfeld addressed, over the safety and efficacy of LASIK, he said was the “greatest fallacy.” LASIK is the safest procedure with the greatest patient satisfaction of any surgery performed in the world today, he said. The safety and efficacy have both improved markedly over the last 20 years, Dr. Donnenfeld said, and it will continue to improve with new and improved technology advances. Finally, he said that though dry eye is common after LASIK for the first 3 months, it actually resolves after 6 months.