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Are Lasik Surgeons a 'Dime a Dozen' ?

[caption id="attachment_3940" align="alignright" width="300"] Lasik in nearsighted woman, performed by Dr. Paul Krawitz[/caption] At the bank today, the manager overheard that I was an ophthalmologist. "Oh, do you do Lasik?" he asked. The bias that people without known eye disease have in thinking that eyeglasses and Lasik are the only thing that ophthalmologists do is part of the reason people lose vision due to glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy - they're oblivious about eye disease. My first thought was that we have to do a much better job communicating the importance of regular eye examinations to make sure none of the really big bad eye diseases have cropped up. The real danger is that some of these conditions, like glaucoma, cause permanent vision loss without any symptoms. So young people can't afford not to know. "I had my Lasik done nine years ago," the bank manager continued. "By whom?" I asked. "Can't remember. Somewhere near San Diego. Some center. I'm not sure," he answered. And the bank manager's last eye exam? Also nine years ago. What struck me next was that the surgeon who performed his Lasik was not remembered by name or location. In my practice, about 8 out of every 10 patients who underwent Lasik elsewhere has very little recall about the event. I don't think that it's so traumatic that they've kept it out of their memory. Rather, it's a fast, automated, highly successful surgery in which the patient often sees the doctor for less than 10 minutes, and then never again. Technicians see the patient before and after the surgery, and because people believe that 20/20 vision protects them from eye disease, they return infrequently, and sometimes not for 10-15 years, for further eye care. With Lasik, surgeons have commoditized themselves to such a degree that patients don't even remember our names. -- Paul Krawitz, M.D., F.A.A.O., President and Founder VisiVite.Com  

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