Confused about LASIK statistics

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Confused about LASIK statistics

Postby ashcat » Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:05 pm

The LASIK stats on this website say that for 98% of people there are "no complications, or issues are seldom problematic"

However, Dr [MW], the FDA official - who originally gave LASIK the go-ahead and is now calling for its approval to be withdrawn - states that there is a "20% adverse event rate" with LASIK - see

Why such a discrepancy? Which of these stats are to be trusted? I'm trying to make a decision over whether to go ahead with LASIK and it's very difficult when there are such wildly varying statistics.

Another related question about statistics (I may post this elsewhere if necessary):

I have a strong prescription -10.75 / -9.75 and am unsure to what extent the chances of dry eye / night vision / other problems increases with this level of prescription?


Note: Doctor's name has been redacted.
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Re: Confused about LASIK statistics

Postby LasikExpert » Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:34 am

The recent public exclamations of Dr. MW have caught quite a few by surprise. This is, after all, the person who was in charge a decade ago when the excimer laser was first approved in the US.

The USAEyes Competence Opinion Relative to Expectations (CORE) study you cited is based upon actual patients reporting their results. Since I personally oversaw the data input and report generation, I consider these results the most reliable; those results being that about 98% would recommend vision correction surgery to a friend. That is still 2% who would not and everyone must remember that Lasik is surgery and there is no such thing as perfect surgery. To gain the convenience of a reduced need for glasses or contacts, one must accept some level of risk. The difficulity you face - and everyone considering Lasik - is whose numbers to accept. I say consider them all, and use your common sense.

The excimer laser used for Lasik has been approved in every country that has an approval process (and it's used in the others). About a half-dozen additional excimer lasers have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration since Dr. MW was at the helm, plus improvements on the early lasers. If you go to you have access to the National Libraries of Medicine. If you search "excimer", you will find over 6,500 peer-reviewed articles on the laser from several different countries. It is estimated that there have been about 18 million excimer laser assisted vision correction surgeries in the world. A "20% adverse event rate" would me about 3.6 million people with adverse events (whatever that double-speak means). Either those 3.6 millon people are really dedicated to a conspiracy to hide "adverse events", or Dr. MW's concerns are a bit, shall we say, embellished.
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