What is informed consent?
Due to its popularity and incredibly short recovery time, it’s easy for clinics to gloss over the fact that Laser Eye Surgery is a highly complex surgical procedure.
However, the reality is that, just like other surgical procedures, it comes with its own set of risks, chances of complications, and various terms and conditions that patients need to take into consideration.
Fully understanding and agreeing to these conditions is the part of the Laser Eye Surgery process that clinics refer to as informed consent.
There’s no need for alarm, though. The comparison of Laser Eye Surgery to other surgical procedures doesn’t go far beyond some similar sounding terminology and preparatory processes. As well as being one of the safest elective procedures in the world, Laser Eye Surgery is minimally-invasive, comes with incredibly few risks, and rarely leads to complications.
Providing your surgeon with informed consent
One of the reasons patients are asked to come in for their consultation on a separate day to their surgery is so there is time to reflect on the information provided by the surgeon. It is essential to have a informed consent process and for a patient to have the opportunity to ask any questions they have.
Usually, a surgeon will outline the benefits and risks and make sure you are aware of all possible outcomes, as well as their chances of occurring. Once you are happy to accept the terms and proceed with the surgery, you will be asked to sign the informed consent form.
Before the day of your surgery, you should have already been made aware of all the information you need to know and have had sufficient time to digest it all. It’s important to remember that if you feel your surgeon hasn’t explained everything to you clearly, you’re not obliged to go through with the treatment.
This scenario is unlikely when receiving treatment in a high-quality independent clinic, however, as Which? found in their report on Laser Eye Surgery clinics, it is known to occur at some high street providers:
“Some staff seem so keen to make a sale that they are missing the basics: what the customer needs to know to give informed consent. Or, at the very least, reminding the patient to read the written information.”
Such cases are a testament to the fact that Laser Eye Surgery is a medical procedure which, if not managed correctly, can lead to unexpected and unwanted results. If you’re currently looking for a Laser Eye Surgery clinic or already have your procedure booked, make sure the clinic has explained the ins and outs of the surgery and that you feel 100 percent ready to make what is sure to be a life-changing decision.
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