Your LASIK Surgeon: How Good is Good Enough?

Ginger Baker photoYour LASIK surgeon should be like a great rock ‘n’ roll drummer.

Think about it. If a poor or average drummer plays with a great band, the performance of the entire band suffers. Even in a symphony orchestra, a poor or unprepared conductor diminishes the quality of the entire performance. And what happens when a sports team has an inexperienced or uninterested coach? The team might win a game or two, but mostly the play will be sloppy and the results disappointing.

Great drummers, talented conductors and experienced coaches create greater expectations and set higher standards for exceptional performance. It’s no different with great LASIK surgeons. Like all medical professionals, LASIK surgeons have different abilities, different levels of training and different approaches to patient relationships. Most LASIK surgeons are conscientious and well-trained, but there are some out there who seem to be in the business only to make a profit. The more people they admit and the faster they can move patients through the process, the more money they make. But are these patients getting the level of healthcare they deserve?

As you search for a LASIK surgeon the questions you have to ask yourself are these:

Is it worth risking my eyesight just to save a little money?
Only you can decide how much you’re willing to invest in correcting and protecting your eyesight. Just be careful to get a complete list of all possible charges before you agree to having LASIK surgery. Find out what is included in the advertised price and what is not. Some surgery centers offer amazingly low prices but, with the addition of hidden “extras,” most patients still end up paying the national average (anywhere from $1,400-2,500) for vision correction.

Who is most qualified to do this delicate surgery?
There are many surgeons who are trained to perform LASIK or other vision correction surgeries. It’s worth finding out what level of training they’ve had and how many procedures they’ve done. Better yet, find out how many of those procedures were successful. But remember, sheer numbers don’t tell the whole story. There is more to a surgeon than the ability to run a laser and a billing department. The quality of the equipment and staff, and the amount of time a doctor is willing to spend with you can be indications of his or her skills and willingness to personally invest in patient care. Like that rock ‘n’ roll drummer, the surgeon may have nice looking instruments, but how good is he or she at leading the whole band?

What is the quality of care am I getting?
Vision correction surgery is a big step and, for most people, a big investment. Make sure you find a surgeon who is willing to provide the level of patient care you want. Do you want to meet your surgeon? Every LASIK surgical practice runs differently.

Some surgeons breeze in right before the procedure starts and introduce themselves for the first time. Some never meet their patients at all, they have staff members do all the preliminary tests, pre-op preparations and post-op follow-ups. Others take the time to get to know their patients, answer questions and personally supervise every step of patient care before, during and after surgery.

Choose Your Surgeon Wisely
In essence, you have many options when it comes to choosing a LASIK surgeon. Price, qualifications and quality of care are some of the things you should consider. Whether you choose a poor drummer or an All-Star coach is entirely up to you.

Best of Milwaukee Award LogoDr. Lanny B. Hale, M.D. is in private practice at Hale Vision, Inc. in Brookfield, Wisconsin. In addition to running an award-winning surgical practice, Dr. Hale is a nationally recognized educator and trainer, who specializes in training other eye surgeons to use the most advanced vision correction equipment and surgical techniques available today. Dr. Hale can be reached by calling (262) 789-9029 or sending a message to:

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