Selecting a Physican for PRK/LASIK


Off-Duty Cop

I am thinking of pulling the trigger on laser surgery for my eyes (most likely PRK) sometime this spring. Right now I am attempting to research doctors and lasers.

A friend recommended a doctor in Vancouver, Canada where a number of his coworkers had the surgery. Their surgeries turned out well and they were able to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate. The doctor has been performing laser vision correction since 1998 and currently uses a B&L Z100 laser (which seems like a common piece of equipment).

I was wondering if you could offer any advice on how to select a physician. Is there some sort of accredidation I should be looking for, a board where I can resarch complaints? Any other words of wisdom are appreciated.

1) You want an ophthalmologist certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology
2) Check her/his name out on the state board of medical examinaers web site to see if there have been legal actions taken by th eboard. Do not worry about someone who has had 1 malpracitce suit - we get sued at the drop of a hat and the majority are bogus. The bad apples will have a string of suits.
3) Ask around. Ask your AME who they recommend.
4) The procedure is not rocket science.
First as background: I am 50.5 years old. I wore glasses from the time I was I was 10 years old until October 2008. I could see close up very well but not far away. I realized the value of eyeglasses as protection and since I could see well enough I saw no reason to possibly jeopardize my eyesight and risk surgery. That is, until I realized that there were flight opportunities for the "sight gifted". My opthamologist assessed my eyesight at 20/300 but said that I was a candidate for Lasik. He indicated that I could realize at least 20/20. He had a partnership with Dr. Tooma (Newport Beach) who performed my surgery. He has reportedly performed over 7,000 surgeries. After all was said and done, my vision is now 20/15 (per both my eye doctor and via FAA AME during 1st Class Medical) and I have not suffered any complications. There is a resultant 'dry eye' which can be corrected with OTC eye drops or drops supplied by the opthamologist. The 'dry eye' is supposed to correct itself as the nerves that were severed during surgery regenerate themselves. A couple times per day I add some drops but really I am pretty much free of everything. I do require reader lenses at 1.50 times to read smaller print or most things closer than 12 - 16 inches away from my eyes. Prior to surgery I was experiencing difficulty seeing things closer up anyway. After the whole experience, if I could go back in time, I would have done this much, much sooner. Absolutely no regrets!!!! The cost was $3600 which I was able to finance over 18 months interest free.

Now to your Canada reference. I was born there and spent my first 35 plus years living in Canada. The quality of care overall is second to none, IMO. My grandmother decided at 80 plus years old to have eye surgery performed. She went to the Gimbel clinic in Calgary. At that time, around 1990, Gimbel clinics were well respected. She opted to have one eye worked on (in case it didn't pan out she reasoned she would at least have one so - so eye.) The day after surgery she was able to see so well she scheduled to have the other eye corrected. She lived for another decade and continually marvelled at having such good eyesight. Bottom line: for what it is worth, I understand Gimbel clinics to have a great reputation. Please note that I do not have any direct experience with them. Check them out for yourself before deciding on risking your eyesight anytime. I have nothing against Vancouver ( I used to live there and it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world) and the quality eye surgeons may be just as good in Vancouver.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to PM me.
I've had the same questions about picking a Physician for the procedure. The thought of finding out who performed the procedure on Tiger Woods, came to my mind first, given his most likely hyper sensitive desire to maintain the best vision he can. For him, it is about a multi-billion dollar career (including all endorsements) - not to mention his own health.

After the surgery, Tiger was asked how he thought it went. His reply was: "The ball looks so much bigger now!"

A bigger ball for Tiger spelled bad news for the rest of the PGA Tour Pros, as he then went on to raise the level of his game even further - capped by winning his last major with a fractured knee [super human, or something].

So, if it worked for Tiger - I'm interested in finding out if his Doc can work on me. If that makes any sense. Cost would be the least of my concerns for something so precious to my health.
I empathize with the Safety Glasses thing- my specs were broken tying down a tailstand last year- prolly would have taken out an eye otherwise,...
I had Lasik done in 2006. Was the best decision I think I could have made.. I cant believe how simple and easy it was.

I did some research and ended up going to canada myself, I used LASIK MD they have several locations and have even started to venture into the US market. They are using the newest technology and have been doing it for quite awhile. and well they also beat any US competitor by about $400 dollars an eye at the time.. Just my two cents..