Then take a few minutes to read this - you won't regret it, I promise. Ok, so before we begin: Some people in the industry would rather me not do this - but I'm gonna be rocking the boat and sharing some useful industry insights with you. I am going to show you how to look through all that marketing glitter, and ask the right questions - so your task of finding the right doctor and the right LASIK provider is made much easier. So, here goes...
#1 Celebrity doctors do not always make the best doctors
Ok, so you found yourself a famous doctor, you've heard of this doctor on the radio, you've seen them on tv, on posters, in newspapers, in the bookstores. Ooooohh great, BUT WAIT! You wanna get your eyes operated on ? What you need is a good doctor, not a rockstar.
Good LASIK doctors spend most of their time in the clinic - seeing their busloads of patients, and perfecting their surgical skills in the operation theatre. They don't have the time to worry about which tv talk show or radio station they're gonna be on next, they don't need all of that to get famous. Good doctors earn their reputation through word of mouth - through the excellence of their patient's results.
Well, I'm not saying that good doctors aren't allowed to be in the media, of course they can (in fact it's a great way of getting out there to educate the public)…..BUT, if the doctor you're looking at is one that spends most of his or her time being a hot celebrity outside of the clinic, then you'd better be worried.
"What you need is a good doctor, not a rockstar. If the doctor is spending more time being a hot celebrity outside of the clinic, then you'd better be worried."
#2 Who says you can't check on your doctor's results?
When it comes to your eyes, and in this modern, information age, there is no such thing as you should just take your doctor's word for it.
A thousand? Seriously?
How good are the results ?
That's what you said - now where's the proof?"
Public listed companies have to make their accounts transparent for a reason - people want to know what's going down when there is so much at stake. Why can't the same be applied to the LASIK industry? Why can't the public have a proper, legalized assurance of the performance of doctors and their LASIK centres? Why can't the surgical results be audited and monitored?
Well....most members of the public may be unaware of this - but LASIK results can be audited independently by a third party, and there are LASIK centres in the country that actually do this. Examples of auditing parties that can be engaged for such tasks include the HPMRS (Healthcare Performance Measurement and Reporting System).
YOU - as a consumer, should do your homework - find a LASIK provider that actually takes pains to submit their results for periodical auditing.
And if the LASIK centre does not engage in any external or independent audit activity, you should begin to question:
- Why aren't the surgeons' results being audited?
- Who checks on the surgeons' work?
- Are they governed by any kind of standards? (good examples to look out for: ISO or MSQH or JCI).
- Are the quality assurance stickers they have on their front doors coming from recognized certification bodies?
#3 The best and most expensive LASIK treatment machines or technology do not always equate to the best results.
Ok, so a Proton Saga and a Ferrari are about to race? Who'll win? Hands down on the Ferrari?
What if the guy behind the wheel of the Proton was Mike Schumacher in his prime and the guy behind the Ferrari was Mr Bean. Do you still think the Ferrari will win? - so yea, you get the picture.
LASIK treatment machines and whatever technology it comes with are just tools - what matters are the people behind the tools. Again - do your homework, who are the people behind the tools, how many successful treatments have they done? What are the results like?
Never, ever judge a treatment method by its expensive (or dirt cheap) price tag or cool looking marketing promo video.
#4 There is no single doctor who is good at EVERYTHING
There is a saying that goes - a jack of all trades is a master of none.
The same applies in the eyecare industry. Just because a doctor is a master at treating retinal detachments or performing cataract surgeries, it doesn't mean that he or she makes a good laser refractive surgeon. In fact, if they spend more of their time being good at other things and very little time perfecting their skills on LASIK, their LASIK results could actually suck.
The great Bruce Lee once said - I do not fear a man who practices a thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who practices one kick a thousand times.
Even in the LASIK world, there are so many different methods of surgery such as the flap methods, ReLEx SMILE, LASEK etc. If a surgeon is a master at performing the flap method, it doesn't mean he/she is equally as good with ReLEx SMILE or LASEK, and vice versa.
So, once you know what method of surgery you are suitable for (flap, ReLEx SMILE or LASEK), do your homework again and find the right surgeon for that particular method of surgery. Always ask:
- How many cases has he or she done?
- What is his or her success rate?
- What kind of assurance do you have that what they tell you is what they have actually done - is their work being audited by an external party? Which external party?
- If they are not being audited - why not?
These questions may make you come across as a difficult customer, but it is your eyes we're talking about here, and these are good questions to ask.
"Even if a doctor is a master at treating retinal detachments or performing cataract surgeries, his or her LASIK results could still suck "