In Plain Sight
● By Wendy Sipple
August is national eye exam month and with students returning to school, it’s a great time for the entire family to get their annual eye examinations.
Vision care is essential as the eyes are such delicate organs. As we age, our vision, at varied rates, progressively diminishes. For adults whose vision is not outstanding, there are options. An alternative to glasses in some cases can be Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis, or LASIK surgery, the gold standard in corrective eye surgery. It is what we read about in science fiction of the ‘70s: a surgery, performed by computer controlled laser beams, which enhances vision without the use of corrective lenses! Style spoke with some local optical professionals about the procedure so that you can see what it’s all about.
Jonas Optometry in Folsom performs many pre-LASIK examinations and post-surgical evaluations for patients who are interested in LASIK surgery. “The most common misperception that I hear from patients is that laser surgery will completely correct their vision. It corrects distance vision, but as you get older you may still need glasses for reading,” says Dr. Thomas Jonas. He goes on to point out, “It is a really good surgery for many people. The results today are impressive with many patients gaining perfect or nearly perfect distance vision.” However, Dr. Jonas also notes that in the current economy, there has been a noticeable reduction in patients opting for LASIK. “It is an elective surgery, and, like other luxuries, people are cutting back right now.”
Dr. Nilu Maboudi of Griffin and Reed Eye Care in Roseville regularly performs LASIK surgery, and prior to coming to Griffin and Reed she studied under Dr. Marguerite MacDonald, one of the true pioneers of the LASIK technique. “Laser vision correction has transformed eye care. By the time kids reach their 20s, it will be as natural for them to have LASIK surgery as it would be today to have braces.”
Dr. Maboudi points out, “There are three things to keep in mind when considering LASIK surgery: First of all, you want to be sure you are a person who heals normally. Secondly, know your doctor. Make sure that you can interact with your surgeon before and after the surgery. Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, do your homework. Many LASIK providers offer introductory classes or seminars. If you can’t make time for that, look it up on the Internet – all the information is out there. If you do your homework, you will know what to expect.”
Dr. Shawn Palmer, an eye physician and surgeon with offices in Folsom, agrees. He recommends that you do your homework first. “Your LASIK surgeon should have experience and a good reputation. He should be someone you are comfortable with and who is willing to spend time discussing your goals and expectations,” states Dr. Palmer. As well, receiving optimal post-surgery care is just as important as the attention you get leading up to the procedure. Patients with an accessible doctor generally recover quicker because they are less worried, and the line of communication is open.
Dr. Douglas Bishop practices at Cedar Eye Center in Placerville. He says, “LASIK is a great surgery, and it is getting better all the time. It is not for everybody, but it is one of the [options] to be included when considering eye correction.” Laser surgery today is far more comfortable than it was when first introduced in the ‘90s. It used to be that there was some expected discomfort after surgery, but with LASIK, that has been addressed. Today’s LASIK option is an amazing surgery,” Dr. Bishop concludes. And it is one that has permanently changed the face of optical care. •