How to Pick the Right In-Office Eye Surgery Center
Choose experienced eye doctors
Choosing the best in-office surgery center means finding the right surgeon. Every ophthalmologist graduates from medical school in addition to completing four years of postgraduate specialized training and a residency. Your eye doctor should have the proper credentials and be certified by reputable organizations like the American Board of Ophthalmology, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Board of Eye Surgery.
Experience is essential when it comes to finding the best surgeons, but you’ll want to get even more specific than that. Find an eye surgeon who is a specialist in the surgery you need to improve your vision, such as cataract surgery or LASIK eye surgery. If you need surgery to correct a refractive error, ask if your doctor has experience correcting your specific error at your initial appointment.
What to Look for Beyond the “MD”
Eye surgeon qualification doesn’t start and stop with a Doctor of Medicine, or an MD. Just like the medical field at large, the field of ophthalmology continues to change as technology advances. It is vital that doctors stay current on the latest developments so that they can offer patients the best care. Look for an in-office surgery center and doctors that stay on the cutting edge by prioritizing continued education.
What Results are Promised?
Eye doctors should never guarantee perfect vision following surgery. Surgery can significantly improve vision and relieve vision problems associated with cataract clouding, dry eye, or other eye issues. But a patient may still need glasses or additional procedures to achieve and maintain proper eye function and clear vision.
Range of Services Offered
Many in-office eye centers offer general vision services in addition to specialized services like surgery. While it may be convenient to visit the same location for all your eye needs, consider opting for an in-office center that specializes in surgery when looking for where to make your appointment. It goes without saying that an annual eye exam is quite different from eye surgery. For example, operations like LASIK and cataract surgery each require the use of a specific laser, which you wouldn’t encounter in your yearly eye checkup.
Reputation of the In-Office Eye Center
Look for an in-office eye center that has been operating for many years and that has excellent patient testimonials. Are patients consistently impressed with the quality and caliber of their surgeon and the outcome of their procedure? How many operations have the in-office center’s surgeons performed, and how successful have they been? Have the doctors or the in-office center received awards or formal recognition?
The Latest Technology
Your eye surgeon should use the latest, most advanced equipment for your procedure, such as premium intraocular lenses for correcting refractive errors, several imaging techniques for surgery planning, as well as the most advanced laser for any laser eye surgery, which includes LASIK and cataract surgery.
An Individual Approach to Patient Care
Eye doctors may perform hundreds of surgeries each year, but your doctor should see you as the individual patient you are, not just another procedure. Every eye and every patient are unique, requiring individualized treatment plans. For example, if you previously had LASIK and are now interested in cataract surgery, you may require specialized post-procedure care. Your doctor should know and consider your entire eye health history when determining your patient treatment plan.
A Holistic Perspective on Vision Health
Any surgery requires pre- and post-procedure care, and eye surgery is no different. As a patient, your surgeon should walk you through this process and assist you each step of the way toward better vision. Your surgeon should also be equipped to partner with your regular eye doctor to ensure holistic eye health.
Choosing the Right Procedure for Your Eyes
Most eye surgeries have a similar goal: to improve vision. However, there are many underlying causes of impaired vision are many. Vision problems may be caused by myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, dry eye, cataracts, glaucoma, or other issues. Stemming from different root causes, the surgical procedures that address vision concerns are correspondingly varied.
LASIK Eye Surgery
Safe, innovative, and now even more advanced thanks to the WaveLight® Allegretto Wave® Eye-Q Laser, LASIK reshapes a patient’s cornea to improve nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. LASIK is a great option for many, even for those who recently had cataract surgery, but it’s not the right surgery for everyone. Talk to your surgeon.
Doctors perform cataract surgery for more than 2 million patients in the US every year. A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye that results in blurry vision. Traditionally, a cataract was removed with a scalpel, but today the most advanced option for cataract surgery is laser cataract surgery using a phacoemulsification laser. Today, a cataract surgeon can not only remove the cataract and clear the problem area during cataract surgery, but also correct refractive errors using intraocular lenses.
Dry eye is a chronic condition involving inadequate or faulty tear production. While there is no cure, diagnostic tools like LipiView® and noninvasive treatments like LipiFlow® can discover the root of the problem and provide lasting relief.
Other Eye Procedures
Some patients may not be good candidates for LASIK due to high or changing prescriptions, chronic dry eye, or thin corneas. Your surgeon may suggest other options, including Advanced Surface Treatment (AST). Like LASIK, AST uses an excimer laser to gently reshape your corneal surface and improve vision.
Most eye surgeries are not covered by medical insurance unless specific criteria are met. Look for an in-office center that accepts a vision savings plan or that offers financing plans. Cost should not keep you from clear vision, so opt for an in-office center that works to make even a surgical procedure financially possible.
There are many elements to consider when searching for an eye surgeon and in-office surgery center. Perhaps most importantly, you should choose a surgeon you trust—who listens to you, understands your concerns, and communicates information professionally and compassionately.