A Man Of Vision Refractive Surgeon Rediscovers The Gift Of Sight Post 1
As I sat on the lanai of our Maui suite in the middle of January 1998, I was astounded – not only by the island’s beauty, the panoramic view of the Pacific, lush green gardens, and colorful tropical flowers, but by the realization that I was seeing it all without my contact lenses or glasses.
For the first time since I was 5 years old, I was free of my visual crutches and cherishing every moment of crisp, clear natural vision – 20/20 in each eye!
Four weeks previous to this date, I underwent a laser in situ keratomileusis procedure to correct my high range of myopia and astigmatism. How ironic it had been, as an ophthalmologist, to see the ecstasy on other people’s faces after they first saw the world without corrective lenses, while knowing my own refractive error went uncorrected.
I have seen men and women shed tears of joy on their postoperative visits. Now I have the dubious distinction of being one of the most severely myopic ophthalmologists in the United States (almost -11 D) to have undergone bilateral LASIK.
My visual journey
This has been an incredible visual journey for me. I was unable to wear hard or gas-permeable lenses (they would pop right out of my eyes) and suffered with glasses (because of their weight and peripheral restrictions). To make matters worse, I grew intolerant of my soft lenses because I have dry eyes. When I went into ophthalmology, I wanted to find a procedure that would help me. I have specialized in refractive surgery since 1983 and had years of frustration because each procedure had limitations. Radial keratotomy wouldn’t touch my high range; automated lamellar keratoplasty could, but would do nothing for the astigmatism; clear lens extraction was too risky with my history of retinal tears; photorefractive keratectomy’s recovery time was too slow, especially with my dry eyes. With keen and cautious interest, I carefully examined LASIK.
Two years ago, I began to perform LASIK on myopes greater than 6 D. It was an easy transition; I had performed ALK for several years. Visual improvement was so rapid and the comfort level so good, I started to lower the myopic bar, because higher myopes were more satisfied with LASIK than lower myopes, who had undergone RK or PRK. After treating severe myopes as high as 18 D with excellent results, I realized I had found the ideal procedure.
I have performed more than 20,000 refractive procedures since 1983 on patients from around the world. Including more than 500 physicians and 20 staff members – even my own wife and other family members. Still, there was the occasional patient, who would look me in my red eyes and ask, “Why don’t you have your eyes done?” I have always believed in putting my money where my mouth is, so I could understand the question especially when our practice, Natural Sight, specialized exclusively in these procedures. Integrity is important to a successful practice and I maintained it by saying, “I, unfortunately, have had to live vicariously through my patients, because no procedure is yet available to correct my high range of nearsightedness and astigmatism.”