Standardised Reporting Of Laser Eye Surgery Results Will Improve Quality Claims

In a mature medical specialty such as refractive surgery, the value of publishing the outcomes of a particular surgical technique, study or case series is maximized if these outcomes are directly comparable to other publications. This can best be achieved by peer-reviewed journals strictly adhering to a universal standard or format for reporting outcomes.

In 2000, George O. Waring III, in association with the editorial staffs of the Journal of Refractive Surgery and the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, published an article titled “Standard Graphs for Reporting Refractive Surgery”,1 which set out a concise six-graph format for reporting clinical outcomes, covering the four main areas of accuracy, efficacy, safety and stability.

However, many authors continued to publish refractive surgery outcomes using different data analysis methods and formatting, which means that it has been difficult to compare studies.

As a section editor and member of the editorial board for the Journal of Refractive Surgery, Prof Dan Reinstein has made it his mission to optimize the quality of refractive surgery publications firstly by improving the set of Standard Graphs (as published in an editorial in November 2009),2 and then by lobbying the prominent refractive surgery journals to enforce the use of this standard. In January 2011, three of the top journals (Journal of Refractive Surgery, Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and Cornea) published a joint editorial stating their commitment to require these graphs to be included in any refractive surgery outcomes paper.3

Thanks to Prof Reinstein, we can now look forward to an era of standardized reporting in refractive surgery, which is sure to benefit the future potential of the specialty.

Read a recently published article in the Journal of Refractive Surgery  (Vol. 27   No. 1   January 2011) about “Standardized graphs and terms for refractive surgery results” . 2011JCRSStandardGraphsEditorial-II


1. Waring GO, 3rd. Standard graphs for reporting refractive surgery. J Refract Surg. 2000;16(4):459-466. Erratum in: J Refract Surg. 2001;2017:following table of contents.

2. Reinstein DZ, Waring GO, 3rd. Graphic Reporting of Outcomes of Refractive Surgery. J Refract Surg. 2009;25(11):975-978.

3. Dupps WJ, Jr., Kohnen T, Mamalis N, Rosen ES, Koch DD, Obstbaum SA, Waring GO, 3rd, Reinstein DZ, Stulting RD. Standardized graphs and terms for refractive surgery results. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2011;37(1):1-3.