What are my chances of achieving 20/20 vision with LASIK or PRK? This is what every patient wants to know. A better question might be this: What is the likelihood that my procedure will be successful, given my refractive error? Although it would be unreasonable to be guaranteed 20/20 eyesight after vision correction surgery, it is reasonable for you to ask your doctor to predict your chances for a successful outcome.
If you have chosen an experienced surgeon- someone who has performed 3,000 LASIK procedures at the absolute minimum- he or she has most likely performed surgery on a number of patients with vision like yours. Accordingly, you will be able to get an idea of what you can reasonably expect after LASIK or PRK.
The Importance of Statistics
Fortunately, now that the LASIK and PRK procedures have been around for many years, outcomes can be predicted by using scientific data. Each surgeon achieves somewhat different results with the same procedure. The best surgeons track their own results and adjust the laser to optimize each patient’s outcome based on the surgeon’s personal results. It takes about 3,000 surgeries for a surgeon to develop statistics for his or her results. If you have found a surgeon who tracks outcomes and compiles statistics based on 3,000 or more LASIK procedures, so much the better. The reality is that most surgeons have not compiled personal statistics, for 1 of 3 reasons: first, they haven’t done enough procedures; second, they aren’t willing to do the labor-intensive work of entering large numbers of cases into a database; or third, they don’t have the statistical knowledge necessary to analyze their results. This is unfortunate, because it reduces patients’ chances of achieving a perfect 20/20 result.