What does LASIK stand for?

Definition and Meaning

LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. Known more commonly as simply laser vision correction or laser eye surgery, an ophthalmologist performs LASIK refractive corrective surgery using a microkeratome or laser to rectify the effects of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism on the eye’s cornea and improve or restore visual acuity as a permanent alternative to wearing contact lenses or eyeglasses. The procedure is notably similar in its process and frequent results to photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), and both procedures are considered significant refractive surgical advancements over radial keratotomy in terms of overall vision correction. Over 11 million LASIK procedures had been performed in the United States alone as of 2011, far less than half the estimated 28 million performed worldwide as of 2009.

LASIK patient satisfaction with the procedure tends to hover in surveys between 92 and 98 percent overall, though some patients have reported physical pain or additional vision problems post-surgery which led to significantly reduced the overall quality of life. Though a small percentage of patients required additional surgeries to rectify over- or under-corrected vision and still required eyeglasses or contacts even after their procedures, a March 2008 patient satisfaction meta-analysis published by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery covering 10 years of data and more than 3,000 internationally peer-reviewed clinical journal articles revealed a 95.4 percent overall satisfaction rate with LASIK results.

Despite the overwhelming satisfaction data, former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official Morris Waxler made a series of 2010 media appearances warning that the procedure he was initially involved in approving failed in more than 50 percent of cases. The FDA wrote of Waxler’s claims as “mischaracterization[s] of results” riddled with “false statements [and] incorrect citations”. On the other hand, WebMD reported on Oct. 10, 2006 that a peer-reviewed Archives of Ophthalmology study’s statistical analysis cited vision loss occurs more frequently due to infection in contact lens wearers than due to complications of LASIK surgery – specifically, a 1-in-2,000 chance of significant vision loss among daily contact lens wearers compared to roughly a 1-in-10,000 calculated risk among LASIK patients.

Terms related to LASIK

  • Abbreviation of Lasik
  • What does “Lasik” mean?
  • Full Form of Lasik

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