With so many options, it’s important to take the time to research several providers before you select one to perform your procedure. Providers that offer affordable financing, give comprehensive eye care services, establish rapport with you and overall help you feel at ease, will ultimately provide you with the excellent eye care you deserve.
The choice of a surgeon will focus on the quality of his or her education and amount of experience, as well as a welcome reputation.
1. Surgeon Experience
A qualified surgeon with up-to-date education on current technologies and trends is a great person to consider for your LASIK eye surgery. You should also find out about what technology the surgeon uses to perform LASIK and access to patient testimonials. As you contact providers for detailed information, you might ask:
- How long has the surgeon performed LASIK?
- What is their experience with new LASIK technologies?
- Are there patient testimonials available to view online?
Your overall goal is that the provider and staff make you confident you’re in good hands and that the surgeons have complete knowledge and understanding of the procedure. With such a big decision, confidence that a surgeon will do wonderful work is the most important factor.
Education and experience are important, but they only show a part of a surgeon’s qualities. You should also look into a surgeon’s reputation, especially with regard to credentials, memberships and overall success rates. Let’s look closer at those:
Credentials: To be qualified to perform eye surgery, doctors must obtain and maintain credentials that prove they remain fit to practice certain procedures, including LASIK eye surgery. The American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) offers a certification that takes 18 months to 24 months to complete. Doctors have already obtained a medical degree at this point. They study and practice in a residency program.
When they are ready, they sit for a written qualifying and oral exam. If they pass, they are given a 10-year board certification, with maintenance requirements. The ABO certification is the only one in ophthalmology recognized by both the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Medical Association. Doctors remain in good standing with the ABO by practicing safely and efficiently, as well as keeping up with new research and technology.
Memberships: One way that doctors stay aware of the latest information is through membership in professional societies dedicated to the study and practice of ophthalmology. For example, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery offers benefits to members, including access to conferences, meetings, publications, web seminars, clinical reports and other ways eye surgeons can stay on top of new research and techniques.
Similarly, the International Society of Refractive Surgery is a worldwide organization aimed at improving the field for refractive surgeons. A partner of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the ISRS provides access to the latest clinical trials and research data from over 80 countries.
Success Rates: Each clinic should keep a record of the times all surgeons are able to achieve the goals they set. These success rates point to patient satisfaction.
When you inquire about your surgeon’s reputation, you must also consider the possibility of re-treatment. Some patients do not respond well to a procedure and need further treatment for a number of reasons. A retreatment rate of 5 to 15 percent is not uncommon, and shows you that your doctor wants to work to ensure a better outcome for all patients.
Surgeons must take advantage of the most efficient, accurate technologies used to perform LASIK. One of the latest trends in LASIK eye surgery is wavefront LASIK. Wavefront LASIK is often called “Custom LASIK,” although this is a misnomer because all procedures performed at a LASIK vision center are tailored to the individual patient. However, wavefront LASIK uses a special device to create a three-dimensional map of the eye from front to back. This map allows the surgeon to use wavefront-guided or wavefront-optimized technology in the surgery. Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center uses IntraLase technology, with the WaveLight Allegretto laser to cut a flap in the cornea and minimize night glare.
Cost is going to be a major factor in your decision, but you should be careful not to skimp on LASIK clinic quality in order to save money. Pricing depends on the clinic, the surgeon, your geographic region and the technology used to improve your eyesight. There is a wide range of potential costs, so it’s important to take the time to balance out your other considerations with each clinic’s expected cost. The right surgeon for you, with the combination of skill, experience and equipment for your needs, might not be the least expensive.
5. Friend or Family Recommendation
When you prepare to seek LASIK eye surgery or another type of refractive surgery, knowing that others have had a good experience with your surgeon goes a long way to providing reassurance. Since LASIK is a popular procedure, you can ask friends, neighbors and family members near you area about their experience. Ask questions like:
- Did they like the process with a particular eye clinic?
- Who would they recommend?
- Did they have a good experience?
These resources are invaluable help as you identify a clinic that will serve you well. You can also ask the clinic staff directly for referrals. This guidance, with the addition of useful testimonials about others’ experiences with LASIK and your surgeon, assists you in learning more about what it is like to work with a particular clinic.
6. Financing Options
Financing your LASIK eye surgery can seem a little daunting, but there are many choices for your consideration. It is possible to use your insurance to cover the procedure. Ask your insurance company about possible coverage. If this is not an option, look into setting up a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Money put into your FSA is taken out tax-free and can be used for certain types of medical procedures, such as LASIK.
You can also talk to the clinic about financing options in-house so that you can take out a loan and pay it directly back to the clinic. Or, you can use a low-interest credit card with perks for spending, so you’ll get something financial back.
Having a clinic close to you is convenient and helps avoid the hassle of extra travel during treatment.
8. Surgeon Commitment
There is a small chance that LASIK surgery will not provide you with optimal results. In this case, you want to know your surgeon commits fully to your overall eye health and your LASIK procedure satisfaction. The surgeon can offer you participation in a program called VISION For Life, so ask about it. The program allows qualified patients, who had LASIK eye surgery at an approved clinic, to take advantage of surgical enhancements at a VISION For Life-approved clinic and surgeon at no charge to them.
Participants in VISION For Life must maintain good eye health and good general health to receive additional enhancements to continue to improve their vision. This program provides an additional degree of assurance to people who want to maintain their LASIK results in the years to come.
9. Comprehensive Eye Care
A comprehensive array of other eye treatments and services is one good sign a clinic is committed to excellent eye care. Eye diseases such as Chronic Dry Eyes become more common as people get older. Nearly 5 million Americans over the age of 50 experience dry eye symptoms. This painful condition can be a sign of more serious problems, so it is important to get treatment as soon as it becomes a concern. A clinic that offers diagnosis and treatment for this and other conditions will be an eye healthcare provider you can rely on for years to come.
10. Peace of Mind
Ultimately, your goal in selecting a clinic is to know that your care is in a good surgeon’s hands, and that the clinic will manage your treatment with the utmost professionalism. Surgery of any kind can be intimidating, so a provider that seeks to put you at ease and address your concerns will provide you with the best long-term satisfaction. Knowing you made the right decision, gives you the peace of mind. At Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center, we strive to provide you with all the information you need to make a wise decision.