Laser Vision Correction: Technology Matters!
In this First Edition of our newly minted newsletter, we will focus on Laser Vision Correction (LVC) and discuss the best technology available… and more importantly… why it is the best. As you will see, being involved in the decision-making process is better for you… and significantly better for your patients. What you will discover is that there are still significant differences that can help you make the right choice about what is best for your patients.
FACT: The vast majority of patients who get LVC do so without being referred by their eye care provider!
Why is this true? Simply put, because most eye care providers don’t discuss LVC with their patients, therefore patients think their doctor doesn’t recommend it. Many of these patients end up at a discount laser center getting outdated technology (blades and antiquated lasers) and are exposed to significantly more risk as a result. This is the key reason why being involved and guiding your patient’s referral is better than leaving it up to chance. Their safety and their outcome matter. Guide them.
In 1994, I started my practice and we co-managed all the forms of refractive surgery that were popular at the time, such as Radial Keratotomy (RK), Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK), followed by the approval of conventional PRK, conventional LASIK, LASEK, Epi-LASIK, etc. In 2004, the FDA approved two very important upgrades:
- Femtosecond laser flap technology (bladeless), and
- Custom treatment, also known as “Wavefront-Guided” treatment (Wavefront-Guided treatment uses a patient’s specific wavefront error measured by aberrometer to attempt to reduce patients naturally occurring ocular aberrations)
At the time, these two FDA approvals were a quantum leap forward compared to the traditional/conventional and bladed technology that we had previously… and at the time, we were thrilled to have them. Complication rates plummeted, enhancement rates dropped substantially, results improved, both quantitatively and qualitatively, etc. Looking back, those were pretty good times. Since then, we have seen even more significant advancements. Yes! LVC has evolved even further, as I am about to explain. These are very exciting times!
The WaveLight Refractive Suite (Alcon) is the newest and arguably the best laser platform on the market today. It utilizes “Wavefront-Optimized” technology (Wavefront-Optimized treatment uses a wavefront error based on the patient’s corneal curvature and refractive error to maintain a prolate shape).
EyeCare Associates of South Tulsa partnered with TLC Laser Eye Centers to bring Tulsa the BEST lasers in the industry. What makes WaveLight the best? So glad you asked! Here is how I would answer that question…
- BEST Laser… by Outcomes!
- I had the good fortune to work in one of the 6 TLC locations in the country to test market the WaveLight platform as it was growing in market share (while VISX was declining). We treated over 4000 eyes and did a head-to-head comparison between WaveLight and VISX and the results were very interesting:
- Myopes: 3.3% more eyes achieved 20/20 or better with WaveLight, and higher myopes were significantly better with WaveLight.
- Hyperopes: 18% more eyes achieved 20/20 or better with WaveLight (very significant). [Note: VISX is widely known for unpredictable outcomes for treatments above +3.00. WaveLight, on the other hand, gets much better results for moderate to high hyperopes. Today, with WaveLight, we treat up to the approved limit (+6.00).]
- BEST Laser… by Market Share!
- WaveLight has over 70% market share! Currently, VISX only has about 20% market share. At one time (a decade ago), VISX had 80% market share, but not anymore. That ship sailed.
The WaveLight Refractive Suite consists of 2 lasers:
- The FS200 laser for making flaps (newest model Femtosecond laser)
- The EX500 laser for delivering Wavefront-Optimized ablations (newest model Excimer laser)
George Goodman, OD, FAAO
Director of Cataract and Refractive Services
EyeCare Associates of South Tulsa
10010 E 81st St #100, Tulsa, OK 74133
O: 918.250.2020 | C: 405-245-9333 | F: 918.250.8910
Service-oriented, comprehensive eye care in a timely fashion.
Please send your comments and suggestions to DrGoodman@southtulsaeye.com
or call Dr. Goodman at (405) 245-9333 (cell).
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