Refractive Corneal Surgery
Few ophthalmic subspecialties generate as much public enthusiasm and criticism as refractive eye surgery: Tiger Woods’ professional success after his refractive surgery may lend a certain glamour to LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), but websites devoted to “LASIK disasters” abound. In this chapter, a refractive surgeon with extensive research and clinical experience and a health care risk manager assess how refractive surgery has fared in the courtroom.
To provide the reader with an overview of the topic of medical malpractice and refractive surgery, we present overall ophthalmic claims experience and compare the incidence of refractive surgery claims to that of other types of eye cases (e.g., cataract surgery). Then each of the three most common refractive surgery procedures—radial keratotomy (RK), photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), and LASIK—are analyzed from a risk management and professional liability perspective, followed by a discussion of recent cases with multimillion dollar awards that have garnered national attention. The chapter concludes with a review of pertinent literature and a discussion of how to minimize the risks of a claim.
KeywordsPupil Size Refractive Surgery Photorefractive Keratectomy Optical Zone Refractive Corneal Surgery
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