“Twenty years ago, I was involved as a co-investigator on the FDA study that ultimately resulted in FDA approval for LASIK. I decided at the outset of that study, if the results were positive, and if I could live with the best of the best or the worst of worst outcomes, I was going to have LASIK. The results were so positive, I had to go for it,” Dr. Hoelscher says.
Dr. Hoelscher explains why eye doctors, such as herself, are gung-ho to get LASIK.
“I couldn’t even read the ‘E’ on the eye chart …”
Before undergoing LASIK surgery, Dr. Hoelscher admits she was blind as a bat. As she explains, “I couldn’t even read the ‘E’ on the eye chart. I got my first pair of eyeglasses in the fourth grade. I had no idea how distinctly you could see leaves on the trees until I had glasses, so I was in awe.”
Fast-forward a few years, and Dr. Hoelscher moved on to contact lenses. Unfortunately, the results weren’t ideal.
“At the time, the only contacts available for people with a very high prescription, like me, were the old hard contact lenses. Those lenses were always popping out, and if a piece of dust got in my eye, the pain could bring me to me knees. I’ve always been very active and played sports, and in the first year I had contacts, I lost 13 lenses.
Eventually, I was able to wear soft contact lenses, but since I also have significant astigmatism, my vision was highly variable. So, when I went into private practice in 1993, and LASIK was coming down the pipeline, I knew as soon as a permanent solution was available, I would be all over it,” Dr. Hoelscher says.
LASIK is better now than ever
When LASIK was in its infancy, LASIK eye surgeons were still working on perfecting the procedure and qualifying patients. According to Dr. Hoelscher, “We didn’t know what we know today about the role of corneal thickness. Now we have a better understanding of how much corneal tissue needs to be left in the corneal bed. For patients with thinner corneas, we may recommend options such as PRK or EBK.”
In order for a patient to be a good candidate for LASIK, they need to have both healthy eyes and adequate corneal thickness. “With LASIK, we’re altering the corneal tissue, so we have to make sure there will be enough unaltered corneal tissue remaining. That way the eye still has good structural support,” explains Dr. Hoelscher.
Eye doctors also have access to better technology today. According to Dr. Hoelscher, “Mapping the front surface of the eye (topography) is more precise, and so are lasers. At Key-Whitman we use wavefront guided lasers that treat a higher order of aberrations, which the original FDA-approved lasers couldn’t do.”
With years of knowledge gained and technology continually improving, eye doctors are better prepared to determine who is a good candidate for LASIK and who is not. Consequently, patient satisfaction rates for LASIK have skyrocketed up to 96 percent.
Dr. Hoelscher explains why it’s important to find an eye care provider that offers a full suite of eye surgery options.
If you’re not a candidate for LASIK, there are plenty of other options available
Top-tier eye care centers like Key-Whitman offer more than LASIK, and Dr. Hoelscher encourages people to seek out an ophthalmology practice that provides a full range of options to fit your vision needs and your lifestyle.
She also recommends choosing a practice and physician with a lot of experience (check their credentials). It’s also important to find an organization that will take the time to determine if you’re an ideal candidate for LASIK – or another procedure – and offers the latest and greatest technology available.
“When you go to a practice asking for LASIK, I think it’s important that you have other options if you’re not a good candidate for that procedure. Depending on your eyes, you may be better suited to vision-improving options like EBK, PRK or ICL as well as cataract surgery and high technology lenses. There are also options for treatments for dry eye syndrome that benefit many patients.
For example, if someone is really nearsighted and they qualify for LASIK, he or she might be a better candidate for ICL (Implantable Collamer® Lens). We might also discover that cataracts are the culprit and recommend cataract surgery instead. Patients may come in wanting better vision and thinking LASIK is the solution, but it’s really our job to determine what is going to be the most beneficial option for the patient,” says Dr. Hoelscher.
“LASIK was a great option 20 years ago. It’s even better now.”
As both a patient and a doctor, Dr. Hoelscher has seen the benefits of LASIK for herself and others. “Getting out of contacts was huge for me. With LASIK I was able to stop thinking about my vision constantly, and it greatly improved my quality of life. And as an eye doctor, I’ve seen first hand how safe and effective laser vision correction procedures are for patients. It truly changed my life, and it could change yours, too.”
If you would like to find out if you’re a good candidate for the LASIK procedure or other vision correction options give us a call at (214) 225-2577. You can also schedule an appointment via our handy online tool.
Photo Source: Dollar Photo Club