Back to Journals » Clinical Ophthalmology » Volume 12

Informed consent in refractive surgery: in-person vs telemedicine approach

Authors Schallhorn SC, Hannan SJ, Teenan D, Pelouskova M, Schallhorn JM

Received 9 August 2018

Accepted for publication 15 October 2018

Published 29 November 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 2459—2470


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Steven C Schallhorn,1–3 Stephen J Hannan,2 David Teenan,2 Martina Pelouskova,2 Julie M Schallhorn1,4

1Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA; 2Optical Express, Glasgow, UK; 3Carl Zeiss Meditec, Dublin, CA, USA; 4F.I. Proctor Foundation, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA

Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare the quality of consent process in refractive surgery between patients who had a preoperative consent discussion with the surgeon using a telemedicine approach and those who had a face-to-face discussion.
Methods: Patients treated between January and December 2017 (8,184 laser vision correction [LVC] and 3,754 refractive lens exchange [RLE] patients) that attended day 1 and 1-month postoperative visit were retrospectively reviewed. Preoperative consent preparation included a consultation with an optometrist, observation of an educational video, and written information. Patients then selected either a face-to-face appointment with their surgeon (in-clinic group) or a telemedicine appointment (remote group) for their consent discussion, according to their preference. Patient experience questionnaire and clinical data were included in a multivariate model to explore factors associated with consent quality.
Results: Prior to surgery, 80.1% of LVC and 47.9% of RLE patients selected remote consent. Of all LVC patients, 97.5% of in-clinic and 98.3% of remote patients responded that they were adequately consented for surgery (P=0.04). Similar percentages in the RLE group were 97.6% for in-clinic and 97.9% for remote patients (P=0.47). In a multivariate model, the major predictor of patient’s satisfaction with the consent process was postoperative satisfaction with visual acuity, responsible for 80.4% of variance explained by the model. Other significant contributors were postoperative visual phenomena and dry eyes, difficulty with night driving, close-up and distance vision, postoperative uncorrected distance visual acuity, change in corrected distance visual acuity, and satisfaction with the surgeon’s approach. The type of consent (remote or in-clinic) had no impact on patient’s perception of consent quality in the regression model.
Conclusion: The majority of patients opted for telemedicine-assisted consent. Those who chose it were equally satisfied as those who had a face-to-face meeting with their surgeon. Dissatisfaction with surgical outcome was the major factor affecting patient’s perception of consent quality, regardless of the method of their consent.

Keywords: informed consent, telemedicine, refractive surgery, LASIK, photorefractive keratectomy, refractive lens exchange

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]