Why do most eye doctors not go for LASIK themselves?
This is a very common question I get from patients. Fortunately I am very blessed not to need to wear spectacles so I can say that its not needed.
The truth of the matter is that modern Lasik surgery is very safe. Many of the current generation of younger Ophthalmologists have indeed had Lasik done, my wife included. They will usually have had this done many years ago when they were junior doctors. There will of course be a certain proportion of the population that decline to have surgery done for any reason, and doctors are no exception to that.
Many of my more mature colleagues may not have elected to do their refractive surgery at an earlier age as the technology was relatively nascent and had not reached the relatively mature stage, that it has now. Unfortunately at this stage in their careers when the technology is much more stable and matured, they see relatively less value to have the surgery performed as it would mean taking some time off their busy work / family schedules that they could not afford.
I hope this little nugget of insight is helpful to you. Many, but not all ophthalmologists have certainly had their refractive surgery performed, so you need not worry about why some ophthalmologists are still in their spectacles!
We often get asked this question – if LASIK is so effective, why do eye doctors not have it done ourselves? In fact, I know a good number of eye doctors who have had the procedure done. When performed on suitable eyes, LASIK, like other forms of laser vision correction, (ReLEx SMILE, PRK, epi-LASIK) is a highly successful procedure to help patients gain spectacles independence.
There are various reasons why one chooses to have LASIK done or not. The same reasons will apply to an eye doctor. Some people are happy with glasses or contact lenses and do not see the added value of having LASIK done. Some may not be medically suitable for the procedure as a result of thin corneas, irregularly shaped corneas and underlying issues like cataract, glaucoma etc. Some will get it done simply because of convenience or have developed intolerance to contact lenses or because of the nature of their professions or hobbies.
Ultimately, it all boils down to personal choice, lifestyle or professional needs and requirements.
The answer is the same whether you are asking about (eye) doctors or the general non-medical population. That is, that there are the other options of spectacles and contact lenses, and perhaps they feel just fine wearing glasses or contact lenses.
Most non-doctors do not go for LASIK, and it is just the same with doctors. If you are wondering whether as a group, fewer doctors have LASIK compared to the general population, then I don't think anyone knows the answer to that. I know many doctor colleagues (both local and overseas) who had LASIK done themselves.
Here’s one (who is a LASIK surgeon himself) who did:
Here's another LASIK surgeon who had it done himself:
He then later did the LASIK operation on his son, who is also an eye surgeon:
I would think that plenty of doctors have already had it done, it’s just that they do not usually go around telling people about it. Of course, the actual numbers are likely to differ in different parts of the world. But the common thinking that doctors who have myopia don’t undergo these surgeries is a myth and probably reflects a kind of cognitive bias.
Clearly, LASIK or other refractive surgery is just one among several options for improving vision in those with refractive errors. Depending on lifestyle and individual preferences, one or other of these choices might suit the particular person better. And it doesn’t really matter whether that person is a doctor or not…