Here are some questions you should ask your surgeon. They may seem tough, but an experienced and committed doctor will be delighted to answer them:

1. How long have you been performing LASIK and how many LASIK procedures have you performed personally?

This question is important. The answers should be at least 3 years and not less than 1000 – 2000 procedures personally performed. The more the better.

2. What percent of your LASIK patients achieve 20/20 or better?

Less than 90% achieving 20/20 is a matter for concern. The industry norm was once around 65% but an experienced surgeon who takes care with the exam and screening process usually can tell you around 95% of his patients achieve 20/20 or even better.

A low figure here can mean the doctor’s candidacy selection process is not thorough. There are alternatives to LASIK for those who are not genuinely good candidates due to eye structure or other factors, so there is no need to fudge patients’ suitability.

3. What percentage of LASIK applicants do you have to reject?

The answer should be between 8-20%. LASIK isn’t for everyone and a conscientious doctor would only recommend LASIK when it was the best vision option for the patient’s needs. This is one reason why it is important to have a free Consultation, rather than spend years researching the technology just to learn you are not a good candidate.

4. What percentage of enhancements do you perform?

Under 10% is a acceptable answer but some centers that practice production-line LASIK routinely talk their patients out of having enhancements so they can report low enhancement rates. On the other hand you don’t want a doctor who performs too many enhancements as this would be a reflection on his skill and/or the equipment he uses. Enhancements are not unexpected particularly with older patients and an experienced doctor will know going into the initial procedure whether enhancements might be necessary or not. Enhancements should be included in the cost of the procedure.

5. Will I have to be out of contacts before the examination and the surgery? If so, for how long?

For the initial LASIK Consultation some centers can make the necessary tests without the patient having to be out of contacts. This first examination is only to determine candidacy for the procedure and not take precise measurements.

You will definitely need to be out of your contacts for up to 5 weeks before the actual procedure and the final pre-procedure examination.

Some production-line centers seek to rush patients through – resulting in the few complications reported with LASIK. If you feel you are being rushed, or do not get a satisfactory answer to this question, just politely walk out.

6. What should I expect my vision to be like for the first few weeks after surgery?

You should be told that minor fluctuations, minor halos, and minor star bursting can occur, but will normally resolve during the healing process.

Some advanced lasers have eliminated even these minor side-effects, with patients amazed at how well they see and continue to see immediately after the procedure, so check if this is the case.

7. Will you give me the names and contact details of five previous patients?

This should be an easy one. Happy patients are walking and talking advertisements for the doctor and his staff. Don’t expect a list of dissatisfied patients, but do ask about the doctor particularly by name. If you don’t ever seem to ‘get that list’ think again about choosing the center. Why the last 5 patients? So that they don’t simply give you their best ten. When you call them, be sure to find out when they had their procedure and confirm that you’re truly seeing the last 5.