As Dr. Ronan Conlon, I bring 25 years of experience in LASIK surgery. I was instrumental in shaping the co-management model in LASIK surgery in 1996 when I helped develop, along with Dr. James Underhill and Dr. Tom Blackwell, one of the first such models in Saskatchewan. The early optometrists involved in developing the co-management model in LASIK surgery were Dr. Jim Kerr, Dr. Gary Hayes, and Dr. Darcy Lukenchuk. This model was a collaborative approach between optometrists and surgeons, which led to optimal patient outcomes and satisfaction.

This collaborative approach between optometrists and surgeons has been a game-changer, leading to optimal patient outcomes and satisfaction. It’s a paradigm that benefits the patients and the eye care professionals involved. I invite you to explore the world of co-management LASIK surgery and discover how this innovative approach is reshaping the landscape of laser vision correction.

Key Takeaways

  • Co-management in LASIK surgery is a mutually beneficial arrangement between optometrists and surgeons, providing optimal patient care.
  • Optometrists and surgeons must collaborate for preoperative evaluation, the procedure itself, postoperative care & addressing complications such as dry eye or visual aberrations.
  • Establishing trust through open communication & mutual respect are key to building successful co-management relationships with ongoing education for best outcomes.

The Importance of Co-Management in LASIK Surgery

Planning LASIK surgery.

In LASIK surgery, refractive surgery co-management presents an innovative strategy that brings together optometrists and lasik surgeons to manage to provide top-notch patient care. This unique arrangement ensures that a team of skilled professionals seamlessly manages every aspect of the patient’s journey, from preoperative evaluation to postoperative care.

But it’s not just the patients who benefit from this collaboration; optometrists and surgeons also reap the rewards of a successful co-management relationship.

Patient Benefits

Patients find numerous benefits in co-management. The uninterrupted care their optometrist and surgeon provide allows for a seamless experience throughout their LASIK journey. This collaborative approach ensures that patients can access specialized knowledge from both professionals, leading to a more comprehensive and effective treatment plan.

Moreover, improved communication between healthcare providers ensures patients are informed and engaged in their treatment. This high level of care coordination results in increased adherence to care guidelines and improved patient safety and satisfaction.

With co-management, patients can rest assured that they receive the best possible care from a team of dedicated professionals.

Optometrist Benefits

Participating in co-management arrangements is highly beneficial for optometrists. By expanding their scope of practice through LASIK co-management, they can:

Optometrist Benefits from LASIK Co-Management Arrangements
Showcase their expertise in the field
Enhance their professional reputation
Increase patient referrals
Build stronger relationships with surgeons
Work together and leverage their respective areas of expertise
Lead to better patient outcomes
Stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in LASIK surgery
Provide the highest quality care to their patients
Stay connected with the surgical community
Ensure the best possible care for their patients
Co-management allows optometrists to stay connected with the surgical community and ensure they provide the best possible care to their patients.

Surgeon Benefits

Successful co-management relationships also provide considerable gains for surgeons. They benefit from receiving qualified patient referrals, which ensures that the appropriate patients are referred for the appropriate procedures. This effective collaboration results in improved patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Surgeon Benefits of Co-managementDescription
Increased EfficiencyCo-management relationships streamline the process of patient referrals, reducing the time and effort required for surgeons to find suitable patients.
Enhanced Professional RelationshipsCo-management fosters a strong professional network among healthcare providers, enhancing communication and collaboration.
Improved Patient CareBy ensuring patients are referred to the most appropriate specialist, co-management improves the overall standard of patient care.
Better Utilization of ResourcesCo-management allows for better use of available resources, as patients are directed to the most suitable healthcare provider.
Reduced Healthcare CostsBy improving efficiency and resource utilization, co-management can help reduce overall healthcare costs.
Increased Patient TrustWhen patients see different healthcare providers working together for their benefit, it can increase their trust and satisfaction with the healthcare system.
Professional DevelopmentCo-management relationships can provide opportunities for learning and professional development among healthcare providers.
Greater Job SatisfactionSurgeons can experience greater job satisfaction through successful co-management relationships, as they are able to focus more on their area of expertise and less on administrative tasks.
Better Health OutcomesSurgeons can experience greater job satisfaction through successful co-management relationships, as they can focus more on their area of expertise and less on administrative tasks.

Moreover, by fostering collaborative relationships with optometrists, surgeons can enhance patient safety and streamline the care process. Through open communication and a shared commitment to providing the best possible care, surgeons and optometrists can work together to achieve exceptional results for their patients.

Understanding the Co-Management Process

The co-management process is a well-coordinated dance between optometrists and surgeons, ensuring patients receive the highest quality care at every stage of their LASIK journey. This process involves three key steps: preoperative evaluation, the LASIK procedure, and postoperative care. These eye care professionals create a seamless patient experience by working together, resulting in optimal outcomes and high satisfaction levels.

With each provider bringing their unique skills and expertise, the co-management process creates a symbiotic relationship that benefits the patient and the providers.

We will delve deeper into each stage of the co-managing process in the co-management arrangement.

Preoperative Evaluation

The preoperative evaluation is a crucial step in the co-management process, as it determines the patient’s candidacy for LASIK surgery. Both optometrists and surgeons play a vital role in assessing the patient’s suitability for the procedure, discussing potential risks and benefits, and preparing the patient for surgery. This comprehensive evaluation helps to minimize the risk of complications and ensures that the patient is fully informed and prepared for their LASIK journey.

During this stage, the optometrist and surgeon will conduct a thorough history and physical examination, evaluate the patient’s risk factors, and perform necessary tests to develop a personalized surgical plan for procedures like LASIK and cataract surgery. By working together, these professionals can ensure that each patient receives the best possible care and is set up for success in their vision correction journey.

The LASIK Procedure

The LASIK procedure, also known as lasik eye surgery or laser vision correction, is performed by a skilled surgeon, who utilizes their expertise to reshape the patient’s cornea and correct vision issues. This minimally invasive procedure typically takes only 10-20 minutes per eye and boasts a high success rate, with most patients experiencing significant improvements in their vision.

Although the LASIK procedure is relatively quick, the surgeon’s skill and experience are critical in achieving the best possible outcomes for the patient. By collaborating with the optometrist during the preoperative evaluation, the surgeon can develop a tailored surgical plan that maximizes the patient’s chances of success and minimizes the risk of complications.

Postoperative Care

Postoperative care, specifically lasik post-operative care, is a vital component of the co-management process, as it involves monitoring the patient’s healing, addressing any potential complications, and ensuring long-term vision health. Both optometrists and surgeons play a crucial role in managing the patient’s surgery and postoperative care, working together to provide seamless and comprehensive support.

During the postoperative period, the patient may experience discomfort or visual disturbances, which their eye care providers should promptly address. Optometrists and surgeons should collaborate to identify potential issues, develop a plan to address them and monitor the patient’s progress throughout the healing process. By working together, these professionals can ensure that each patient achieves the best possible outcomes and enjoys a smooth recovery.

Addressing Common LASIK Complications

Although LASIK surgery is generally considered safe and effective, complications can sometimes occur. Co-management plays a crucial role in addressing these complications, as it ensures that both optometrists and surgeons are involved in the patient’s care and can promptly intervene when necessary. By working together, these eye care professionals can minimize the risk of complications and ensure optimal outcomes for their patients.

Some common LASIK complications include:

  • Dry eye
  • Glare
  • Halos
  • Flap complications

In the following sections, we will discuss how co-management helps address these issues, ensuring that patients receive the best possible care and support throughout their LASIK journey.

Dry Eye Management

Dry eye is a common side effect of LASIK surgery, which may cause burning, itching, and discomfort in the affected eye. To manage dry eye symptoms, it is important for the optometrist to work closely with the patient, providing appropriate interventions such as artificial tears, prescription medications, and regular monitoring.

Sometimes, the eye doctor may need to collaborate with the surgeon to address more severe dry eye issues or complications. By working together, these professionals can provide the patient with the most effective treatment plan and ensure their comfort and long-term vision health.

Glare, Halos, and Other Visual Aberrations

Glare, halos, and other visual aberrations can sometimes occur after LASIK surgery, causing visual disturbances that may be temporary or require further evaluation and treatment. When encountering these cases, the optometrist and surgeon must jointly identify the issue’s root cause and formulate a suitable treatment plan.

Through timely intervention and collaboration in ocular disease management, these eye care professionals can address these complications and preserve the patient’s visual health. In doing so, they demonstrate the power of co-management in delivering the highest quality care and support to LASIK patients.

Flap Complications

Flap complications, including incomplete flaps, buttonhole flaps, and free caps, are rare but potentially serious issue that can arise during LASIK surgery. In a flap complication, the patient must be promptly referred to the surgeon for appropriate intervention and management.

The collaboration between optometrists and surgeons in a co-management relationship is crucial in addressing flap complications, as it ensures that the patient receives the best possible care and support throughout their recovery. By working together, these eye care professionals can minimize the risk of complications and maximize patient outcomes.

Building a Successful Co-Management Relationship

The foundation of a successful co-management relationship lies in trust, effective communication, and ongoing education. These elements are essential in fostering a collaborative environment where both optometrists and surgeons can work together to provide the best possible care for their patients. By cultivating strong co-management relationships, eye care professionals can ensure their patients receive seamless, comprehensive care throughout their LASIK journey.

We will delve deeper into these critical components and uncover their contributions to the success of co-management relationships in LASIK surgery.

Establishing Trust

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful co-management relationship, as it ensures that both providers prioritize patient care and work collaboratively to achieve the best possible outcomes. Establishing trust between optometrists and surgeons requires clear expectations, open communication, and mutual respect.

By building trust, these professionals can:

  • Create a collaborative environment where they can share information and expertise
  • Address potential complications
  • Ensure that their patients receive the highest quality care

Trust is essential for the success of any co-management relationship and is the key to delivering exceptional patient care.

Clear Communication

Clear communication between optometrists and surgeons is crucial for coordinating care, addressing complications, and keeping patients informed throughout their LASIK journey. By maintaining open lines of communication, these eye care professionals can ensure that they are always on the same page and working together to provide the best possible care for their patients.

Effective communication strategies include:

  • Being clear and concise
  • Using simple language
  • Actively listening
  • Being respectful and open to feedback

By fostering clear communication, optometrists and surgeons can collaborate more effectively and ensure the success of their co-management relationship.

Co-Management Manual

In this context, it is worth noting that the Conlon Eye Institute has developed a Co-Management Manual. This manual serves as an informational resource for co-managing optometrists. It provides valuable insights into the latest advancements in LASIK surgery and other relevant topics. This manual is great for optometrists to stay updated and strengthen their co-management relationships with surgeons. The Conlon Eye Institute’s commitment to this resource underscores the importance of continued learning and collaboration in delivering the best possible patient care.

Continuing education is essential for both optometrists and surgeons, as it ensures that they stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in LASIK surgery and can provide the best possible care for their patients. By actively pursuing continuing education opportunities, these professionals can demonstrate their commitment to excellence and enhance their co-management relationships.

Continuing education opportunities for optometrists and surgeons may include:

  • Conferences
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Journal publications

By staying informed about the latest developments in their field, optometrists and surgeons can work together to deliver the highest quality care and support to their LASIK patients, including those considering contact lenses as an alternative.

Standardized Forms and Continuing Education

We have developed a referral and post-operative form to enhance the communication between optometrists and ophthalmologists further. These forms are a standardized medium for exchanging crucial patient information between the two professionals.

The referral form helps the optometrist provide all the necessary information about the patient’s condition and history to the ophthalmologist. This ensures the ophthalmologist is well-informed about the patient’s case before the consultation or surgery.

The post-operative form, on the other hand, is filled out by the ophthalmologist after the surgery. It contains important details about the surgery, post-operative care instructions, and follow-up schedule. This form is then sent back to the referring optometrist.

These forms have proven instrumental in ensuring clear, accurate, and efficient communication between optometrists and ophthalmologists. They streamline the referral process and promote better patient outcomes by ensuring that both professionals are on the same page regarding the patient’s care.

In conclusion, the development of these forms and the Co-Management Manual by the Conlon Eye Institute is a testament to our commitment to fostering strong co-management relationships and providing the highest standard of patient care.


In conclusion, co-management in LASIK surgery is a powerful approach that benefits patients, optometrists, and surgeons. By working together, these eye care professionals can provide comprehensive care and ensure optimal patient outcomes. The key elements of a successful co-management relationship are trust, clear communication, and continuing education, which create a collaborative environment that fosters excellence in patient care.

As the world of LASIK surgery continues to evolve, the importance of strong co-management relationships cannot be overstated. By embracing this innovative approach, eye care professionals can provide their patients with the highest quality care and support, ensuring a bright future for all involved in the LASIK journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is co-management for Lasik eye surgery?

Co-management for Lasik eye surgery is when an eye care professional and a LASIK surgeon work together; the eye doctor provides pre-and post-operative care while the LASIK surgeon performs the surgery. It benefits both parties, as the eye doctor may receive a fee from the LASIK surgeon, and the patient can enjoy improved vision with a permanent alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses.

How many follow-ups after LASIK?

Patients typically receive follow-up appointments with their LASIK provider one day, week, month, three months, and one year after the procedure.

How long does it take to see 20/20 after LASIK?

With a LASIK procedure, most patients typically have 20/20 vision or better within 2 to 3 months.

What are some common complications associated with LASIK?

LASIK is associated with potential complications such as dry eye, glare, halos, flap complications, ectasia, infection, flap dislocation, macrostriae, epithelial ingrowth, and DLK.


  1. “LASIK Co-Management: What Is It?” – American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
  2. “What is LASIK Co-Management?” – American Academy of Ophthalmology
  3. “LASIK Co-Management: The Benefits and Risks” – Journal of Refractive Surgery
  4. “Understanding LASIK Co-Management” – Review of Optometry
  5. “The Role of Optometrists in LASIK Co-Management” – Clinical and Experimental Optometry
  6. “Co-Management in LASIK: A Collaborative Approach to Eye Care” – Optometry Times
  7. “LASIK Co-Management: An Optometrist’s Perspective” – Optometry and Vision Science
  8. “The Ethics of LASIK Co-Management” – Journal of Medical Ethics


Photo graph of Dr. Conlon operating with loops on.

Dr. M. Ronan Conlon started his career in the field of ophthalmology at the same time as the development of refractive eye surgery in Canada. In 1996, he brought laser technology to Canada from Germany, which allowed him to perform laser eye surgery before it was available in the United States. With the establishment of the Conlon Eye Institute, Dr. Conlon has performed more than 40,000 refractive procedures and has advanced his expertise in LASIK and refractive cataract surgery.

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