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Finding a LASIK Practice That’s Right For You

Monday, May 2 2016 4:03 PM

As with most things in life, you’ll have choices when it comes to choosing a LASIK practice. We think this is a good thing. But that’s not to say all practices are the same.

Here are a few things to consider as you decide which practice is best for you.  

Experience

We know that everyone starts somewhere. Even the most expert among us were novices once.

But when it comes to experience, it’s important to consider how you feel. Some people love working with new doctors and practices, feeling like they’re helping someone get a start in the business. Newer practices are more likely to run discounts and specials as they build their client base, creating a win-win.

On the other hand, an experienced doctor is able to provide a sense of “been there, done that” for you. While you may be nervous about having the procedure done, more experienced doctors can help to put you at ease with their extensive knowledge. They will have a sense of ease and confidence that will radiate throughout their practice, helping you handle your nervousness.

Additionally, you can rest assured knowing they’ve performed thousands of successful operations before yours.

Technology

We can boil LASIK technology into two camps: Blades vs. Bladeless. (While some people are scared by the word “blade,” in the hands of an experienced surgeon, LASIK surgery with a blade is very safe.)

Traditional LASIK uses an instrument called a microkeratome, a motorized blade that cuts a thin flap into the cornea (front window of the eye). Once the flap is created, it is lifted so that an excimer laser can reshape the area beneath the flap. When the excimer laser treatment is complete, the flap is floated back into place. This method tries to recreate the correction you receive from glasses or contacts.

Alternatively, wavefront optimized technology with femtosecond flap creation is entirely bladeless. To begin, a flap with angled edges (this creates a firmer hold and a more stable flap in the future) is created using a femtosecond laser, also called an Intralase laser. Unlike the microkeratome — which cuts through tissue — the femtosecond laser breaks hydrogen bonds between the cells to create a plane that can be separated.

Once the flap is created, the excimer laser reshapes the underlying cornea. Different from a traditional excimer laser, a wavefront optimized excimer laser is engineered to correct common aberrations of light that can occur with refractive surgery. This results in higher quality of vision after the procedure.  

Bladeless wavefront optimized LASIK is the least “invasive” of the two procedures and produces better, long-term results. If, for some rare reason, the surgeon does not feel the flap should be lifted, there is no harm done. The cells will rebond and the procedure can be attempted again in a few weeks. According to Stanford’s Eye Laser Center, some of the advantages of Wavefront LASIK are:

  • Better chance of achieving 20/20 vision without glasses.

  • Better chance of achieving greater than 20/20 vision.

  • Potential reductions in losing corrected vision, quality or contrast sensitivity, and night-vision disturbances.

We prefer the bladeless technique because it’s a more reproducible and consistent procedure. It allows the flap to heal tighter and stronger than blade-based procures, reducing the risk of flap complication if an eye injury were to occur in the future.

Cost

The first thing you might be wondering is, “Does my insurance cover this?” The simple (and unfortunate) answer is no.

The cost of LASIK procedures can vary widely based on a number of factors like experience, technology, and geographic location. However, a good ballpark range is between $1500 - $3000 per eye.

While you may see extremely low prices for just a few hundred dollars, these deals are typically “too good to be true.” (Besides, do you really want to bargain shop when in comes to something as important as your eyesight?)

The best news about cost? According to TurboTax (2), you can “deduct any amounts you pay to treat or modify any part or function of the body for health.” This includes LASIK.

In addition, they go on to say, “You can also deduct the cost of transportation to the locations where you can receive this kind of medical care.”

Important Note: There are other stipulations around this type of tax deduction, so be sure to ask your tax professional in advance of your surgery. We are not tax professionals, so we can’t speak to the specifics of your individual case. Best to seek a professional tax advisor.

In Summary

Grene Laser uses Wavefront (blade-free) technology to perform all LASIK and PRK procedures. Dr. Wellmeyer has more than 20 years experience, having performed more than 10,000 procedures.

If you’re curious how Grene Laser can help you see better…

Shalee Lehning
"Playing sports is hard enough without worrying about your contacts. The inconvenience of losing contacts during practice and competition was frustrating for me. The decision to have the surgery was the best decision I have made!"
Shalee Lehning, K-State Women's Assistant Coach / Former WNBA and K-State Player - Manhattan, KS

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