Looking for a laser eye center near you? If you think laser eye correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism may be for you, the most important choice you will make is selecting the laser eye doctor, even more important than deciding whether or not to have the laser eye procedure.
A conscientious laser eye surgeon will help you decide whether excimer laser eye treatment is right for you by highlighting the pros and cons as they relate to your particular situation. The surgeon at the laser eye center should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of PRK, LASIK, and non-laser procedures to help you choose which technique is best for you. The surgeon will also perform the procedure.
The role of the doctor cannot be overemphasized. Some laser eye clinics would like you to think that the laser does all the work and that the surgeon is not very important. Remember – the laser is just a tool which the surgeon uses to correct your vision and, like other tools, the way it is used makes all the difference. The laser does not decide what to do – the doctor does. The laser performs the task that it is programmed for, so the measurements and information given to the laser by the doctor are critical. Also, the laser will not be monitoring your progress or initiating adjustments after the procedure – the doctor will. So finding a doctor you can have confidence in, at a suitable laser eye center is very important.
The laser eye surgeon will decide which equipment to use and will make sure that the equipment is properly maintained and calibrated.
Be wary of laser eye centers that de-emphasize the surgeon, and make sure that you know your surgeon and feel comfortable with his or her manner, education, and experience. Select a doctor that you trust and who you think has good judgment.
Be wary also of slick advertisements. A good advertisement means nothing more than the laser eye center has a good advertising agency. It does not mean that the doctor is right for you.
Be careful about referrals from other eye doctors. Many laser eye doctors have financial arrangements with specific laser centers or surgeons and the referring doctor will receive financial benefit if the procedure is performed by the suggested clinic or surgeon. Carefully question the referring eye doctor and the laser eye surgeon to be sure that you know the details of this financial arrangement and make sure that you feel confident with your choice.
Carefully check the credentials of the surgeon as well as the laser eye center. See if the doctor is board certified in ophthalmology and make sure that you respect the doctor’s education, training, and experience. Has the doctor just started performing surgery to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, or has the doctor been doing so for many years? How many PRK or LASIK eye procedures has the doctor performed and how many does he or she perform each week? Is LASIK (or PRK) a major part of the laser eye center’s practice or just one of many parts?
As a consumer, you need to be aware that there are quality differences among laser eye surgeons and among each laser eye center, and that these quality differences may impact upon your chances of complication and your final visual result.
Does the doctor listen to you, and does the doctor clearly answer all your questions? Does the doctor seem to care about you and your individual needs?