17 Jun 2002
A leading ophthalmologist in the UK has said that more research is needed to determine whether laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is completely safe.
Professor John Marshall, of St Thomas's Hospital in London, UK, is concerned that long-term follow-up studies of the LASIK technique have not yet been possible, and that patients should be made more aware of the potential risks involved with laser eye surgery.
LASIK requires surgeons to cut away up to a third of the cornea to produce a flap, under which the laser surgery takes place. Once the treatment is complete, the flap is folded back onto the rest of the eye, but Marshall warns that fibres between the flap and the eye do not always regrow perfectly.
Patients' awareness of the problems that can occur following LASIK treatment is a major worry. According to Glenn Hagele, of the US-based Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance (CRSQA), one problem is that patients often dismiss the information that they are given about the risks involved as a formality in the procedure.
Though there is no official data detailing complications of refractive surgery, the CRSQA's advisory committee, comprising ophthalmologists and optometrists as well as patient groups, determined that less than 3% of refractive surgery patients experience unresolved problems.
Story courtesy of Opto and Laser Europe magazine