Selecting a LASIK Surgeon – What to Look For
Choosing your refractive surgeon is just as personal as the decision to have surgery—it will be the most important decision you make regarding your LASIK procedure. This choice makes a difference in your overall results. In choosing a LASIK surgeon, you often get what you pay for. Low cost frequently equals lower quality care from a less experienced surgeon…and therefore less than desirable results. Providing the very best technology and well trained staff mandates a large financial and time commitment on the part of the surgeon. Why trust your vision to just anyone?
Look for Experience and Training
When searching for your LASIK surgeon you may keep these questions in mind:
- Has the surgeon had any formal fellowship training in LASIK procedures, pre-operative and post-operative care, and in managing possible LASIK complications?
- Has the surgeon had plenty of experience in performing LASIK? Have they been performing the procedure for years? If yes, then have they been staying up to date on the newest, safest, and most accurate treatments? Alternatively, are they still using knowledge and technology from 10 years ago? How old is their LASIK machine or their IntraLase machine?
Several studies have shown that there is a learning curve associated with this procedure. Also the rate at which an individual surgeon progresses through the learning curve differs. The more experience a surgeon has with LASIK, and the more formal training they have had, the less chance a patient has of complications from the procedure.
Dr. Gary Tylock is considered to be one of the best surgeons who specializes in LASIK and performs thousands of procedures a year. He has been performing refractive surgeries in the DFW area for over 30 years.
Dr. Michael George is one of the few ophthalmologists in the country who, following his specialty training in General Ophthalmology, elected to undergo an additional full year of formal subspecialty fellowship training in LASIK, Refractive Surgery, and Medical Cornea. This was completed while studying under the highly renowned Dr. Ming Wang, at one of the nation’s premier LASIK institutions in Nashville Tennessee. There, Dr. George performed not only typical LASIK surgeries, but also was responsible for managing much more complex and challenging LASIK procedures that were referred from other LASIK doctors across the nation. These unique and highly sought-after skills and training that Dr. George obtained are what compelled Dr. Tylock to recruit him to our practice, serving the Dallas / Fort Worth area.
Additionally, Dr. George has been published in the well-known Journal of Refractive Surgery, which is read by other LASIK doctors to learn new technologies, concepts, and treatments. Dr. George’s article concerns the superior results of the WaveLight® system, the newest version of which has recently been acquired by Tylock Eye Care. It is the newest and fastest FDA approved laser in the entire nation, and Dr. Tylock was the first in the state of Texas to acquire it.
Your Comfort Level With The Office
When you are in the doctor’s office, what is the atmosphere like? Are the doctor and his staff friendly? Do they answer your questions? Do you feel like a number in a crowded space? Does the office look clean and well-maintained? What is your overall gut feeling? Read online reviews–do they have a history of negative reviews?
Be leery of a surgeon trying to set some world record for the number of surgeries they have done. If this is their goal, they may not have your best interest at heart, and may not take the appropriate time and attention to detail.
Another warning sign to be concerned about is if the office does not request that you be out of your contact lenses for a given period of time prior to your work-up and LASIK or PRK surgery. Contact lenses have the ability to reshape and temporarily change the measured refractive power of your eye. For example, a patient wearing hard rigid lenses may measure -4.00 diopters when the lenses have just been removed. If they are left out of the eye for a few weeks and remeasured again, the eye can return to its “natural” shape and the same patient may measure -5.00 diopters. Using the -4.00 measurement and not waiting the appropriate amount of time can lead to undercorrection and blurry vision after the procedure. At the Tylock Eye Care and Laser Center, our policy is to have soft contact lenses out for at least 5 days, toric soft lenses out for 2 weeks, and rigid hard contact lenses out for 3 to 4 weeks.
Proven and Real Results
With the previous Allegretto Eye-Q 400 Hz excimer laser system, 93% of patients had a visual acuity of 20/20 or better. This is the system that many LASIK eye surgeons who consider themselves “up to date” with technology are still currently using. At Tylock Eye Care, we are one of the only centers in the nation who have the newer version of this system, the WaveLight Refractive Suite with the WaveLight EX500 (500 Hz) laser. We consider our results to be even better than the national average. Ask each LASIK eye surgeon about their LASIK success rates and don’t settle for second-best. Chances are they’ll have a difficult time matching our record of success.
Commitment to Technology
Dr. Tylock has always been committed to buying the newest, safest, and fastest technology available for the benefit of his patients.
- Which Laser is the Doctor Using?
- Dr. Tylock had both the VisX and the WaveLight® Allegretto 400 lasers side by side for 2 years, and he felt the WaveLight laser was better. Now that he has the newest version, the WaveLight® 500, he feels that the results are even better!
- Are they using the newest Excimer Laser, the WaveLight® EX500? (Dr. Tylock was the first surgeon in the DFW area to purchase this laser, and was the first in the DFW area in 2008 to purchase its predecessor, the Allegretto 400)
- Are they using the newest Femtosecond Laser, the WaveLight® FS200? (Dr. Tylock was the first surgeon in the entire state of Texas to purchase this laser)
- Does the doctor have his own laser? Or is it a community laser shared with a large group of doctors?
- Controlled environment – Are the Lasers kept in a humidity and temperature controlled environment 365 days a year? Temperature variations can have a huge impact on accuracy!
- Is the laser calibrated between each and every patient?
- Is the equipment sterilized prior to each use?
Other Criteria to Evaluate
- Experience: Number of years performing refractive surgery and number of refractive procedures performed per month
- Patient Education: Does your surgeons’ office offer educational seminars or other opportunities to learn about refractive surgery?
- Physician Education / Board Certification: Is your surgeon certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology? Is your surgeon a member of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery? International Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery? American Academy of Ophthalmology? For how long? How often does your surgeon attend these respective meetings?
- Surgeons’ Staffs’ Education: Are surgeons staff members certified by JCAPHO? Laser manufacturers’ certifications such as Alcon? How long have most of the doctors’ staff been with him? Are they part of an office or franchise that has a high turnover of surgeons and staff?
- Research: Has your surgeon invested additional time doing research in refractive surgery? For example has he done any special work with Excimer Lasers, Corneal Topography or has he been an FDA investigator in clinical studies related to refractive surgery or vision correction?
- Teaching position: Does your surgeon have a teaching position with a local university program training physicians specializing in ophthalmology such as University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. What is your assessment of the Surgeons’ Overall Reputation and Commitment?
Now that you are more familiar with the criteria, please take a look at The Tylock Advantage.
If you have additional questions about Dr. Tylock, his staff, or facility, please contact Tylock Eye Care & Laser Center. For more information about the all-laser Custom IntraLASIK procedure with it’s added level of safety and precision, please attend one of our free Tuesday night seminars at our laser eye care center.