Most communities provide access to minor eye care such as an eye “physical.” These may include a regular check-up, looking for evidence of the presence of glaucoma or cataracts, dealing with eye focal problems or addressing symptoms of other problems. Some of these laser eye centers include laser surgery capability. This means that a laser light of some type is used to do the delicate work of correcting a problem in the eye.
When most think of a laser eye center, they think of LASIK surgery. This is by far the most common laser eye surgery and is performed over four million times a year in America. LASIK uses the excimer laser to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. It involves reshaping the cornea to correct for focal abnormalities.
Sister surgeries to LASIK include LASEK and PRK. These also involve reshaping the cornea but with slight differences. LASEK surgery involves cutting a flap in the cornea as with LASIK, but the flap is not as deep. PRK (and the similar PTK- Phototherapeutic keratectomy) surgery actually reshapes the surface of the cornea so no flat is cut at all. Laser Thermal Keratoplasty uses a holmium laser to burn concentric rings on the cornea six to seven millimeters in diameter. This makes the eye focus better on near objects.
Laser eye centers treat other eye problems besides focal clarity. For example, Laser Coagulation or Laser Photocoagulation involves the use of a laser to cauterize blood vessels to deal with various problems. A specific application of this is used to deal with a torn or detached retina. The surgeon will in essence “rivet” the retina to the eyeball with tiny coagulations. It is relatively painless and the patient can have a serious threat to vision remedied in seconds.
Of course, it goes without saying that not all laser eye centers are created equal. Some are high quality and can be trusted with your precious gift of sight. Others, however, are interested in an easy income and will not have the care and professionalism you will want. Therefore, it is good to proceed with care in selecting a laser eye center.
Consider these points in choosing a laser eye center. First, whom does your regular doctor recommend? Doctors know their field and know who is the best. Second, if you know someone who has had laser eye surgery, find out who did it and if your friend was pleased with the service. Third, do not determine a laser eye center based solely on price. Some offer cut-rate treatment but will often cut service and follow-up. Your eyes are priceless; treat them as such.
It would be good also to learn of the center’s reputation and track record. Ask the doctors there how many laser surgeries they have performed and what percent were followed by complications. A bonus would be if the eye doctor is a member of a reputable surgery group demanding the highest of standards.