news from NAVY--- recent Am Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting-- Boston

By Andrew E Holzman, MD FACS on April 14, 2010

Customized laser vision correction

Refractive surgeons were inspired to move past delivering just 20/20 vision to their patients at an EyeWorld educational symposium Friday. Supported by an educational grant from Abott Medical Optics (AMO, Santa Ana, Calif.), the session was chock full of data on excellent outcomes using the most advanced laser technology.
Program Chair Steven C. Schallhorn, M.D., emphasized the importance of driving patient satisfaction up with better than 20/20 vision. He said that satisfaction with uncorrected visual acuity was the single most important marker of overall patient satisfaction. Modern LASIK allows surgeons to achieve these superb results in a majority of the cases, he said.
The impressive data presented by David J. Tanzer, M.D., on the better than 20/20 results achieved by the U.S. Navy received the most interest among audience members. Evidence-based medicine has driven refractive surgery standards and policy in the U.S. military, Dr. Tanzer said. More than 90% of 185 aviators enrolled and treated to date at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Calif., received Wavefront-Guided LASIK treatment and the rest received Wavefront Optimized treatment, he said. The machines used were the Visx S4-IR (AMO), Allegretto Eye-Q (Alcon, Fort Worth, Texas), or CZM MEL-80 (Carl Zeiss, Dublin, Calif.). Dr. Tanzer said that post-op, 100% of eyes had an uncorrected visual acuity of 20/20 or better by 2 weeks. Myopes were eligible to return to flight in 2 weeks post-op while hyperopes and mixed astigmats were eligible for return in 4 weeks. Laser vision correction has been overwhelmingly successful in the military in all jobs, Dr. Tanzer said. It has been shown to have tremendous operational benefits—allowed for military aviators, divers, special operations personnel and NASA astronauts. The satisfaction is also incredibly high in service members who have received laser vision correction and has enhanced job performance. For example, a 98% improvement in effectiveness as a Naval aviator and 100% of the treated aviators would recommend the procedure to fellow aviators.

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