LASIK statistics - Facts and figures…

LASIK statistics

Laser in-situ keratomileusis, or LASIK, is a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of common vision problems. It is currently the most frequently performed elective surgery in the United States. LASIK involves the use of a laser to permanently change the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye. In this manner the focusing system of the eye is re-shaped allowing the patient to see clearly without the need for glasses or contact lenses. The following article will help you understand various aspects of LASIK such as the frequency of its complications, success or failure rates and other important facts and figures.

While FDA has approved LASIK in people older than 18, the ideal LASIK patient is over 21 years of age, since the refractive error is more likely to be changing below this age. Some patients over the age of 21 are still experiencing change in refractive error making them unsuitable for LASIK.

Frequency of procedure
Speaking of US alone, approximately 700,000 LASIK procedures are performed annually, making it one of the most common surgeries in the United States. Similarly, according to an estimate, approximately 700,000 eyes will receive refractive surgery with LASIK devices by the end of year 2011.

Success rates
Lasik 'success' is dependent upon several factors including, of course, the increased ability to read letters on the eye chart. However, visual satisfaction can vary from patient to patient and may depend upon the types of activities performed as well as the visual demand required. Studies, research and surveys have revealed that overall, patients achieve 20/20 vision over 90% of the time and 99% are able to see better than 20/40 —the minimum requirement for driving a motor vehicle. In other words, more than 90 percent of people who have LASIK achieve 20/20 to 20/40 vision and are able to perform all or most of their daily activities without glasses or contact lenses.

Satisfaction rate
The surveys determining patient satisfaction with LASIK have found most patients satisfied, with satisfaction range being 92–98 percent. In fact, a meta-analysis dated March 2008 performed by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery over 3,000 peer-reviewed articles published over the past 10 years in clinical journals from around the world, including 19 studies comprising 2,200 patients that looked directly at satisfaction, revealed a 95.4 percent patient satisfaction rate among LASIK patients worldwide.

Complications rate
The overall risk of a major complication that might permanently reduce correctable vision is 0.2 to 0.4 percent. Out of these rare complications, the following ones are considered important:

Dry eyes: The most common complaint from patients due to refractive surgery is the incidence of "dry eyes." According to an American Journal of Ophthalmology study of March 2006, the incidence rate of dry eyes from LASIK after the six month post operative healing period was 36%.

Diffuse lamellar keratitis: The incidence of diffuse lamellar keratitis (DLK) has been estimated at 2.3%. DLK is an inflammatory process that involves an accumulation of white blood cells at the interface between the LASIK flap and the underlying corneal stroma.

Corneal flap complications: The incidence of flap complications has been estimated to be 0.244%. Flap complications may include displaced flaps or folds in the flaps that necessitate repositioning, diffuse lamellar keratitis, and epithelial ingrowths).

Infection: The risk of infection following LASIK is very low. In fact, it has been estimated that infection following LASIK surgery occurs in only 1/1000 cases. Likewise, the incidence of infection responsive to treatment has been estimated at 0.4%.

Hemorrhage: The incidence of subconjunctival hemorrhage has been estimated at 10.5%

Retreatment rate
There are some rare cases in which some patients do not get a fully corrected sphere of vision after their first Lasik procedure. However, fortunately, the FDA statistics show that this happens in less than 3% of the people undergoing LASIK and an additional LASIK surgery is needed to improve vision. However, a 2003 study, reported in the medical journal Ophthalmology, found that nearly 18 percent of treated patients and 12 percent of treated eyes needed retreatment. The authors concluded that higher initial corrections, astigmatism, and older age are risk factors for LASIK retreatment.

Based on the above facts and figures, it is crystal clear that most of the LASIK-related complications are a very occurrence. Also, the success rates and the frequency of performance are very high with most LASIK procedures. A careful choice, however, should be made for surgeon's selection and the services that provide lasik surgery.

Learn more LASIK facts and statistics on our forums!