How to Choose Your LASIK Eye Surgeon
In any area of human endeavor, to become good at what we do, practice is needed. In nearly every area of medicine, including areas like cardiac surgery, breast cancer treatment or bone marrow transplants, patients usually do better in specialized treatment centers. The keys to excellence in surgical outcomes are repetition and routine standardization. Repetition makes procedures routine and effortless. Patient outcomes can be complex on occasion and with experience, complication management becomes automatic and efficient. In nearly every city, it can be easy to find an ophthalmologist who performs LASIK as part of a general ophthalmology practice. There are relatively few surgeons who specialize exclusively in LASIK, and even fewer surgeons who have the experience of many tens of thousands of procedures. The surgeons at King LASIK specialize in and perform only laser vision correction. It’s what we do, day in and day out.
An “Experienced” LASIK Eye Surgeon: What Does It Mean?
If you have been researching LASIK eye surgery, you have probably learned that you should look for an “experienced” LASIK eye surgeon. However, the word “experienced” encompasses much more than the standard medical curriculum and a few years of practical experience. Most of the truly experienced LASIK surgeons have completed several years of specialized education in the area of laser refractive eye surgery, a subspecialty of the field of eye surgery.
Laser refractive eye surgery procedures are designed to restore clear eyesight without corrective lenses. When performing laser refractive eye surgery, the surgeon uses a laser to reshape the eye’s cornea so that it refracts light rays correctly, which results in clear images being sent to the brain. Many of the leading LASIK eye surgeons in Portland and Seattle have completed a specialized fellowship in laser refractive eye surgery.
In addition, experienced LASIK eye surgeons have performed thousands of laser eye surgery procedures. This is different than performing thousands of general eye surgery procedures, which might include procedures such as glaucoma surgery and strabismus surgery. For this reason, you should ask your prospective LASIK surgeon not only how many eye surgeries he or she has performed but also how many of those surgeries were LASIK or PRK treatments.
Beware of Marketing Tricks
Some LASIK practices attempt to attract new patients by claiming that their eye surgeons have many years of combined experience and together have performed a very large number of LASIK procedures. Do not be impressed with such claims. Your procedure will not be performed by all of the practice’s surgeons together; it will be performed by one LASIK surgeon. Therefore, ask how many LASIK surgeries your particular surgeon has performed. In addition, inquire about your surgeon’s safety record and ask to see testimonials of the surgeon’s former patients. If possible, ask your surgeon to put you in contact with some of the former patients so that you can ask questions about their surgery experience.
You should also ask the LASIK center’s representatives how many types of laser eye surgery they offer. If the facility offers only one type of surgery, this might be a signal that you will not receive an individualized treatment. As a result, your final visual results might be less than ideal. To avoid this outcome, look for a LASIK center that offers customized LASIK procedures, such as iLASIK. The more options your surgeon offers, the more likely that the surgeon will be able to develop a unique treatment plan that will reflect your visual needs, eye anatomy, overall health and personal preferences.
Choose a LASIK Surgeon Who Uses Advanced Laser Technologies
When it comes to LASIK eye surgery, technology matters. Because the laser removes only a small layer of corneal cells, it is vital that the laser follow a very precise treatment pattern. The latest laser platforms, such as VISX Star S4, feature several technology enhancements that allow the surgeon to deliver an exceptionally precise treatment. Many of the more advanced laser platforms also include the sophisticated Wavefront analyzer – a diagnostic technology that measures the eye’s imperfections and creates a 3-D map of the cornea. Similar to a fingerprint, this map is unique for each individual cornea. LASIK eye surgeons use the map to program the excimer laser – the instrument that physically reshapes the cornea.
Another vital piece of technology used by the best LASIK surgeons is the IntraLase femtosecond laser. This laser eliminates the need for a mechanical blade and allows LASIK surgeons to create a smoother, more precise corneal flap. Errors caused by a mechanical blade are a potential source of post-LASIK complications. Creating the corneal flap with a laser greatly reduces the risk of flap-related complications.
Demand a Complete Eye Exam
All of the leading LASIK surgeons begin each consultation by performing a complete eye and vision exam. They look for signs of various health conditions and extreme refractive errors that would disqualify the patient from pursuing LASIK. Many of the top LASIK surgeons turn away a large number of prospective LASIK patients because of their concern for patient safety. In other words, experienced LASIK surgeons do not perform LASIK surgery unless they are convinced that the risk of complications is low and the patient will benefit from the treatment. You should carefully evaluate eye surgeons who promise to perform LASIK for anyone who desires this treatment. Similarly, if a surgeon recommends that you undergo LASIK without performing a very detailed eye exam, you should probably look for another doctor. Some laser centers employ technicians instead of physicians to routinely perform pre- and -post operative eye exams. Patients’ eyes may not be dilated prior to refractive surgery and this may
lead to inaccuracies in treatment as measurement of the patient’s prescription while dilated provides key information for surgical planning.
Dr. Joseph King and King LASIK
Dr. Joseph King has personally performed more than 85,000 LASIK procedures, which makes him one of the most experienced LASIK eye surgeons in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada as a whole. Dr. King uses the latest laser eye surgery technologies and techniques when performing LASIK. He performs the leading-edge iLASIK procedure – a treatment that combines a Wavefront analysis, the IntraLase laser for blade-free corneal flap creation, and the VISX Star S4 excimer laser platform. As a result, Dr. King’s patients consistently achieve outstanding vision correction results.
The following list provides a quick overview of Dr. Joseph King’s qualifications, the procedures he performs and the laser technologies he uses:
- More than 85,000 LASIK procedures performed
- Additional post-residency training in laser vision correction at an accredited institution
- Performed research in the field of refractive eye surgery
- Lectures to other surgeons about LASIK eye surgery
- Trains other doctors on how to perform LASIK
- Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology
- Certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
- Performs complete eye exams prior to recommending LASIK
- Uses Wavefront analysis to create a 3-D map of the cornea
- Measures the thickness of the cornea prior to recommending LASIK
- Encourages patients to ask questions, and takes the time to provide thorough answers
This list provides a convenient overview of the technologies and patient support mechanisms offered at all King LASIK centers:
- Highly skilled, compassionate medical staff
- On-site Wavefront-guided capability
- Eye tracking technology to account for even the smallest eye movements during surgery
- King LASIK focuses only on LASIK and other refractive eye surgeries and does not offer general eye surgery
- King LASIK offers flexible hours, including Saturday appointments
- King LASIK provides several LASIK financing options
- The practice offers leading-edge LASIK treatments at competitive prices
If you would like to learn more about LASIK in Seattle, Vancouver, Tri-Cities or any other King LASIK location, please contact King LASIK offices at 855-503-0281, or schedule a free consultation online.