Lasik eye surgery has helped correct the vision of many Americans for years. Now one local lasik center says new technology is making the surgery safer and better than ever.
Jill Rimmey has worn glasses full time for 12 years. But that's about to change.
"I've been considering a lasik procedure for several years," said Rimmey. "I've sort of been waiting until some of the techniques were more perfected and I think hopefully that time is now."
Rimmey is getting ready to undergo a new lasik procedure that became available here in the Grand Valley just a few months ago. It's a procedure that's only offered at Grand Valley Lasik Institute.
"We're able to offer an all laser procedure," said Doctor John Oster, a surgeon. "A bladeless procedure that offers an extra measure of safety and precision the patients really want."
Dr. Oster has performed lasik surgeries for more than 12 years. He says in a standard lasik procedure, surgeons use a micro blade to cut a flap in the eye, before using lasers to reshape it. While relatively rare, he says it's that blade which creates most complications with the surgery.
"By taking the flap risk out of the equation, by reducing the risk of a bad flap using an all laser procedure, we've greatly eliminated one of the greater risks of having a serious complication," said Dr. Oster.
While Dr. Oster says Rimmey should have close to 20 / 20 vision after her surgery, he adds that the $5,000 procedure isn't for everybody; something that a consultation will determine.
"Being a good candidate is equally as important as being a good surgeon," said Dr. Oster.
With her pre-op check completed, Rimmey is ready to go.
"Anytime you're having a procedure, you get nervous," said Rimmey.
After prepping her with a few drops, Dr. Oster gets to work. First, he cuts flaps in both of her eyes.
"The laser makes a very nice, uniform flap and a very nice, smooth bend in which to proceed with the custom laser oblation," said Dr. Oster.
Then, using 3D blueprints of each eye, he reshapes them with lasers specially tailored to Rimmey's needs.
"It gives just a fantastic result," said Dr. Oster.
After 10 to 15 minutes the procedure is done and Rimmey spends time relaxing.
"It wasn't that bad," said Rimmey. "I just got a little nervous at the beginning."
As she recovers, she thinks about what lies ahead.
"I'm really looking forward to some of the other things I'll be able to do," said Rimmey. "Swimming without worrying about losing contacts, or having my sunglasses perched at the side of the pool, skiing, bike riding."
Dr. Oster says the new procedure has been approved by NASA for use on its astronauts and by the U.S. Navy for use on its pilots.
For more information about the procedure, or to schedule a free consultation, call the Grand Valley Lasik Institute at (970) 424-5555.