Risk Management

Laser-assisted Cataract Surgery

Laser-assisted cataract surgery is an addendum to our main cataract consent form. Ask patients to sign this form if you use the femtosecond laser for some of the steps of cataract surgery or if you use it to perform a relaxing or arcuate incision to treat astigmatism.

Remove the section on relaxing incisions if you will using the FS laser but not creating a relaxing incision (e.g., for implantation of a premium IOL without a relaxing incision).

These cataract consent forms are written using “plain language” principles.

The goal is to make the document easy for your patients to understand. Patients facing cataract surgery are asked to make a number of decisions, including whether to have a premium IOL, how to correct astigmatism and presbyopia, and if they want laser-assisted cataract surgery. Many patients are not suitable candidates for these options, or do not have the resources to pay the additional fees for them. We did not want patients to feel confused or overwhelmed by information about procedures they may not have. For that reason, we limited the information in our basic cataract consent form available at www.omic.com/cataract-plain-language-consent-forms/. It is for patients who will have a monofocal IOL and wear glasses to correct astigmatism or presbyopia.

We developed “plain language” additions to address other options

Add the appropriate addendum if your patient chooses to have a premium IOL, monovision, a relaxing incision, or laser-assisted cataract surgery. You may want to create customized consent forms for these options by moving the information from a particular addendum into the main form.

This document does not contain all the information patients needs to know about cataract surgery options.

Instead, it contains brief, basic information about key aspects of cataract surgery. For example, the presbyopia addendum explains presbyopia and lists monovision and premium IOLs as the two options to treat it. It does not describe the difference between the types of presbyopia-correcting IOLs. The astigmatism consent offers a toric IOL or a relaxing incision, but does not distinguish between manual limbal relaxing incisions or arcuate incisions created with the femtosecond laser. You and your staff will, therefore, need to educate your patients before asking them to sign the consent. Provide enough information so that they can make decisions about the various options you offer. Consider providing educational materials, such as the AAO’s pamphlets, as well as brochures from the manufacturer of the premium IOL. Document your educational efforts.

Decide what is best for your patient population.

We field tested these forms. Most patients found them easier to understand than our prior sample cataract forms, and felt less confused about the many options. A few patients preferred detailed forms with more technical information. You know your patients best, and can decide which type of form works best for your practice. You may decide to keep using your current cataract consent form.

Ophthalmologists in Florida should continue to use the cataract consent form approved by the Florida state board of medicine.

Use of the Florida form helps defend eye surgeons from allegations of lack of informed consent. Just as importantly, no report to the Medical Board is required if the patient experiences complications listed in this state-specific form. http://www.omic.com/cataract-consent-form-fl-specific/

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