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Refractive Surgery Trends and Practice Style Changes in Germany Over a 3-year Period

Ingo Schmack, , Daniel Epstein, Mike P. Holzer
Published: 1 March 2010

Abstract: To study the current practice styles and preferences of refractive surgeons in Germany. In February 2008, a seven-item questionnaire regarding the practice of refractive surgery was mailed to 282 members of the German Society of Intra-ocular Lens Implantation, Interventional, and Refractive Surgery (DGII) and the Commission of Refractive Surgery (KRC). Most questions were identical to our 2005 German refractive surgery survey. All data were analyzed in a masked fashion. The response rate was 42.2%. The majority (68%) of respondents reported that they perform refractive surgery in laser centers (exclusively or partially) followed by general hospitals (19.4%) and universities (12.6%). Although LASIK was the predominant type of refractive surgery performed (80.6%), other refractive procedures included refractive lens exchange (60.2%), photorefractive keratectomy (47.6%), phakic intraocular lens implants (45.6%), laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (36.9%), epithelial laser in situ keratomileusis (15.5%), intracorneal rings (5.8%), and limbal relaxing incisions (2.9%). The volume of refractive surgery procedures and the preferred type of excimer laser systems, microkeratomes, and diagnostic devices varied at different institutions. Most respondents performed either wavefront-guided custom ablation or wavefront-optimized ablation (63.1%) compared with conventional excimer laser correction (36.9%). Refractive surgery practice styles and preferences in Germany are comparable to trends in other European countries. Although LASIK is the most commonly performed refractive procedure, the numbers of various surface ablation techniques and refractive intraocular lens procedures are increasing.
Keywords: Refractive surgery practice / practice styles and preferences / ablation / Germany

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