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May 10, 2009

DIVERSIFICATION: 7 Reasons to Get LASIK at a Full-Service General Ophthalmology Practice

When researching LASIK, the prospective patient must choose what clinical environment will provide the best care: a LASIK specific practice, a corporate setting, or a full-service general ophthalmology practice.  Arguments can be made for each clinical setting, but there are many compelling reasons to chose a general ophthalmology practice with a strong refractive surgery presence:

    1. Most practices that specialize in LASIK only do LASIK.  There are many circumstances where LASIK is not the best procedure for one's refractive problems.

      1. Patients in their mid 40's might be better served by getting a refractive lens exchange (RLE) with the implantation of a multifocal IOL.  Results are generally much better and more permanent when compared to monovision LASIK.

      2. High myopes may be better served receiving an ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens).  Quality of vision is generally superior in these patients when compared to LASIK.

      3. Patients with small cataracts will see much better with refractive cataract surgery and implantation of the multifocal lens.  This may be combined with LASIK (Bioptics) in patients with pre existing astigmatism.

    2. A practice that specializes only in LASIK is not as financially sound as a full service practice during economic downturns.  The most recent recession has seen a 40% decrease in LASIK volume.  In a full service practice this may be translated into a 10-20% decrease in gross income.  In a LASIK specific practice, this can be disastrous.  TLC has just announced the closing of their Roanoke office, forcing their patients to scramble for post op care! I believe this is but the tip of the iceberg for corporate providers.   LCA Vision, another national provider of LASIK has reported losses of $6.9 million for the first quarter of 2009!

    3. If you are a gas permeable contact lens wearer, these lenses need to be out at least 3 weeks before the LASIK evaluation.  At a full service practice, soft contact lenses can be fit and provided free of charge to get you through this period.  Soft lenses only need to be out 3-7 days before the procedure.  This certainly beats wearing glasses for the entire period before surgery.

    4. Speaking of glasses, since contacts need to be out 3 to 7 days before surgery, what does a patient who owns no glasses do?  Either buy a pair or walk around in a fog?  At a full service practice, a temporary pair of glasses can be provided free of charge.

    5. A small percentage of LASIK patients need to be fine tuned or enhanced after the primary procedure.  If these patients need to see better, at a full service practice, temporary glasses or contact lenses can again be given out free of charge.

    6. Continuation of care.  Once your LASIK is done, who will follow you for all your eye care needs.  At a full service eye center you will be followed by the doctors who have preformed your surgery and know your eyes the best.

    7. Just because you have had LASIK doesn't mean that you are immune to other eye problems.  A full service practice can monitor and treat all eye conditions including:

      1. Retinal disease:  Nearsighted patients are at increased risk of developing retinal tears which may lead to retinal detachments.  Diabetic eye disease.  Macular degeneration (AMD).

      2. Glaucoma.

      3. Cataracts.  Care must be taken in determining the correct implant (IOL) power in previous LASIK patients.  A practice well versed in both LASIK and cataract surgery will ensure optimal results.

      4. Routine eye care.  The general full service eye practice is never too busy to provide you with routine eye care in the future.  We are with you every step of the way!


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