Posts Tagged ‘patient stories’

LASIK Myths Debunked

Think you can’t have LASIK surgery? Think again!

If you’ve been told in the past that you couldn’t have LASIK surgery, it’s time to come to Emory Vision. During the last five years, LASIK technology has made a huge leap forward—and you may find that you’re now the perfect candidate. I’d like to take a moment to address two reasons you may have been told you can’t have LASIK.

#1- If you wear gas permeable contacts, LASIK is not for you (UNTRUE!)
Gas permeable lenses change the shape of your cornea to correct your vision. In fact, many eye doctors prescribe them to correct astigmatism. What you may not know, is that LASIK can actually be a way to treat the condition of astigmatism permanently.

What does this mean for you? It may be time for LASIK surgery! To find out, just take a three-week break from your gas permeable lenses, to allow your eyes to go back to their original shape, and then come in for your initial exam.

#2 – If you wear bifocals, you can’t have LASIK (UNTRUE!).
Do you wear bifocals—or are you nearing a time when you will? Have you longed for LASIK surgery but been told you’d still need to wear reading glasses? Now bifocal wearers can enjoy the benefits of LASIK surgery with blended vision—and put aside those reading glasses.

Blended vision means that, rather than treating both eyes for distance, we treat one eye for distance viewing and one for close up. Your eyes then make the necessary adjustment depending on your activity. Still not convinced? Come in for an initial exam at Emory Vision, and we’ll let you try out how blended vision works and feels before you have surgery using a special pair of glasses that simulates the effect.

A LASIK Surgery Update from Daren Wang

My wife and I share our anniversary date with my parents. It’s a happy coincidence, and one of the consequences is that each year, we all head out for a celebratory dinner at our favorite restaurant in Atlanta.

The chef puts together a five-hour meal for us that involves many, many courses with paired wine tastings. It’s an extravagant, incomparable way to spend an evening. And one of the pleasures of it is to have a great chef expose us to new exotic foods, unusual preparations, and wonderful wines. We always make a guessing game of which herbs or spices are flavoring a dish. And each year, we get a rundown of what’s included in the meal.

The dining room is lovely, but darkish. And with the fine, elegant print, the menu turned out to be a challenge for everyone to read this weekend, even with glasses. Well, everyone except me, that is. I worked as something of a translator the whole evening, reading the descriptions to our little party, because my eyesight was perfect. I could look out at the gorgeous landscape as the Chattahoochee rolled by, or I could read 6 point type on the menu fine print explaining what was in a particular reduction.

Since I had my surgery, people often ask me about my experience. In response, all I can do is rave about the results. The dinner example is just one of dozens of discoveries and examples I could share about the improvements LASIK has made in my life. Non-prescription sunglasses, not having to hunt for misplaced glasses, compliments on the color of my eyes, and enjoying workouts sans glasses are just a few of the new pleasures I enjoy on a daily basis now.

And in an effort to thank Emory for the fine work they did for me, I make a point to refer everyone that I can to Emory Vision. A friend of mine who was fascinated by my LASIK process recently spoke of my live LASIK surgery adventure to her friend in London, who is now plans on having the surgery at Emory during her upcoming trip to the US.

If any of you would like to share your story about LASIK, or if you have questions for me about my experience, please feel free to do so here in the comments section.

Three Emory Employees; Three Patient Stories

Paula (left), Eddie (middle) and Robin (right)

I’d like to introduce you to three Emory employees from the Faculty Staff Assistance Program at Emory Healthcare who experienced LASIK here at Emory Vision.

It began with Eddie Gammill, who had his surgery here with us a few years ago and was so thrilled with his results that he proceeded to tell all of his coworkers about his experience.  Eye health is of particular importance to Eddie, not only because he’s the Manager of Wellness Programs for Emory’s Faculty Assistance Program, but also because of his family history—his grandmother was blind.

Eddie felt that LASIK surgery was an incredible opportunity. When interviewed for this blog post, he made a point to say, “I wish I hadn’t waited so long. LASIK surgery is truly one of the greatest things I’ve ever done for myself.”

It didn’t take long for Eddie’s enthusiasm to move Robin Huskey (his co-worker and the Manager of Outreach and Education at FSAP) to consider LASIK as well. Robin wore glasses that always interfered with her passion for water skiing, snow skiing and tennis. She said, “Eddie had such a great experience and spoke so highly of the staff and physicians.”

According to Robin, “The procedure went smoothly, and my vision is great!” In fact, Eddie and Robin’s positive reviews inspired yet another FSAP employee to explore the possibility of LASIK surgery—Paula Gomes, the Director of Wellness Programs.

“Eddie and Robin talked about how LASIK surgery changed their lives,” Paula said. “They were on a campaign to encourage me to think about it.”

Paula had her surgery earlier this year and is delighted to be free of her glasses: “Now, when I wake up in the morning, I’ll look across the room and just gaze at the alarm clock, enjoying my new vision.”

Naturally I’m fond of these stories because I’m an Emory Vision patient advocate. That said—I also think that they demonstrate the extraordinary power of positive word of mouth, something that happens naturally when you give patients only the best of care.

Myths Surrounding LASIK Surgery

If you’re considering LASIK surgery and consulting your friends and colleagues about it, you may hear a range of opinions. Do you know which is fact or myth? I’m Rhonda Brown, and I’m a certified ophthalmic technician and patient advocate at Emory Vision. In this post, I’ll help you separate LASIK fact from fiction.

MYTH: LASIK should be done once your eyes change in your 40s. As we age, we find it harder to read – a condition called Presbyopia. LASIK has come a long way, and doctors can now treat one eye for distance and one eye for near vision— a process we refer to as ‘blended vision’.  While it isn’t 100% perfect, patients have remarkable improvements in functioning vision for seeing both near and far. Some patients may need glasses for limited tasks such as night driving or reading a menu in low light. However, after surgery, at least 95% of life activities can be enjoyed without glasses.

MYTH: If you have astigmatism, you’re not a candidate for LASIK. This is a common misconception, and definitely a myth.  Having astigmatism means that the eye’s front surface, or cornea, is shaped more like a football rather than a basketball.  In most cases, LASIK can reshape the eye to make it look more like a basketball, which is ideal for improving vision. Technological advances now allow newer lasers to safely treat it.

MYTH: You should get a “lifetime guarantee” on your LASIK procedure. You wouldn’t ask for a lifetime guarantee on your heart valve, would you? The same is true for LASIK. Although it’s elective, it’s still a surgical procedure, and doctors are working with soft tissue that can respond, heal and age differently from person to person.  If a center is offering a lifetime guarantee, consider whether its doors will be open 5 years from now. Sometimes these guarantees are only good if you have poor vision in both eyes – or only for a specific window of time, which is why it’s so important to read the fine print.

TRUTH: LASIK isn’t for everyone. This is true. If you are looking for a guarantee of perfect vision, you may not be an ideal candidate. No one can promise an exact outcome for LASIK surgery, and certain conditions affecting the eye prevent some people from being an ideal candidate. However, according to statistics, nine out of 10 patients can see 20/20 or better following LASIK.

And now I’d love to hear from you—what LASIK-related myths have you heard about? I would be happy to debunk them for you.

Notes on a LASIK Consultation

So I just got back from my Emory Vision consultation. I had a lot of questions about the process, side effects, bad results, and the like. But first off, I did a bunch of tests. You put your chin on a chin rest, and then you stare ahead at lights, or dots, and you can’t blink for a few seconds. I think they should install some periscope handles under the testing equipment, just because it’d be cool.

They map your corneas and retinas, and the visuals reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I did not encounter HAL9000 though.

All joking aside, it was fascinating to go through the process, and the Emory Vision staff was a great source of information. I had read a piece in a magazine about problems with LASIK, and I was kind of anxious about whether to go through with the whole thing after reading some of the stories. But after the testing process, they determined that I was a good candidate for the procedure. I spoke with Rhonda Brown for a while and asked a bunch of questions, and she really put me at ease. Dr. Randleman came in, and we talked and decided that blended vision was a great option for me. Then they assembled a set of Thomas Dolby looking test glasses for me to put on so they could gauge the effect that blended vision would have on me.

Don’t I look cool?

We talked at length about what I could expect on surgery day and afterward, the improvements to the technology over the years, and the limitations of the procedure. I am so ready to be rid of these glasses.

Who Is Daren Wang?


This past weekend, we had our board retreat for the AJC-Decatur Book Festival. I’m the executive director, so I was expected to be a leader in the meeting. It was a bright sunny morning, so I had worn my prescription sunglasses into the meeting room. But when the board president started writing on the flipchart, I found myself fumbling through my bag, scrambling for my regular glasses. No Dice! I ended up spending the entire day squinting at the notes on the pad. At one point, we had assembled a list of 30 or so priorities, and we needed to rank them. I suggested we all get up and make a mark next to the items we voted for–it would have let me get up and read them all up close.

Of course, after the whole day meeting, I got home, emptied my bag on the table and found my glasses at the bottom.

I hate my glasses. They’re always dirty–my wife makes fun of how grimy they look. If I clean them while I’m waiting for the coffee to brew, they’ll be smudged by the time I leave the house. I scramble to find them, and I’m always worried about scratching them. I have two old pairs in my glove compartment, because for various reasons, I’ve found myself driving home at night without them, a dangerous situation for sure.

I’ve decided that this is my year of personal renovation. Instead of putting a new sunroom on the house, I’m doing all the work to renovate myself. Like a twenty-year old house, I’ve gotten worn around the edges, and I needed some attention. I’ve started working out a lot, and I’ve dropped 3 pant sizes. My old jeans kind of have that “pants on the ground” thing going on, I’m proud to say. And I run a lot. I’ll be running a 15k this weekend. Running with glasses on is just terrible. After a quarter mile, they fall off your face from the sweat. You can buy straps to keep them in place, but then my wife will really make fun of me.

So I’ve decided that one of my projects for my personal renovation is to get LASIK surgery on my eyes. I’m about to give up the glasses, and be able to wake up and see the alarm clock every morning. I know several people who have gone through the procedure, and they’ve all been thrilled with it. I have to try hard to hide my jealousy.

But I run a book festival. Reading and writing are central to my work, and to my non-work time as well.

I met the great pianist George Winston the other day when he came for a concert I helped put on. George, as you can imagine, is careful with his hands. What I do isn’t at his level, but I like to think my eyes are as important to me as his hands are to him.

So I asked around about LASIK services, and there’s one name I heard time and time again. Emory. Latest equipment, best doctors, best modern poetry collection in the world. How can you not trust those guys?

I’m scheduled for my treatment later this month, and I’d love to hear from those of you who have had the LASIK procedure. What was your experience like?