Page 35 - The UK Guide to Laser Eye Surgery
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Questions to ask when considering laser eye surgery 35
You are looking for a surgeon who can show you statistics that reflect individual surgeon outcomes
Questions to ask when considering laser eye surgery
No-one should undergo any form of elective surgery without feeling fully informed, safe and comfortable. You should ask as many questions as you feel are necessary to help you make a decision. However, here are some essential starting points:
How experienced is my surgeon?
To become a laser eye surgeon, you must be registered as a doctor with the General Medical Council (GMC). There is also a recommendation that laser eye surgeons seek independent training from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, but this is not a legal requirement. Also, the availability
of refractive surgery fellowship specialist training is very limited in the UK, so
many surgeons learn refractive surgery ‘on the job’. Because of this, standards - unfortunately - vary within the field: it is important to ask whether your surgeon has undergone formal refractive surgery training and for how long, and whether he or she is a corneal specialist. Specifically, you should choose a surgeon with the following credentials as a minimum:
• A Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons /Ophthalmologists or equivalent
• Fellowship specialty training in corneal surgery
• Fellowship sub-specialty training in refractive (laser eye) surgery
• On the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register
As a patient, you should seek a laser
eye surgeon who has experience in the specific procedure you are interested in (for example, LASIK, SMILE, Laser Blended Vision, etc.) You should also check what range of prescriptions your chosen clinic can safely treat. If you have a more unusual prescription, you may find that some surgeons will refuse to treat you; this usually does not mean that your prescription cannot be treated anywhere, but rather that your chosen clinic lacks the experience or technology to treat your particular condition.
While more experienced surgeons will have performed a higher number of procedures, it is important not to assume that high turnover equates to a high quality surgeon. Likewise, you should be cautious about basing your decision on advertised complication rates - since what one surgeon or clinic officially classes as a ‘complication’ may be quite different to another.

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