The decision to have LASIK surgery is one of the most important most patients ever make. But just as important is who you choose to perform your surgery. After all, you only have one pair of eyes – you need to feel confident that they’re in the hands of someone you trust.
Dr. Stephen Updegraff believes these are 10 of the most important questions you need to ask your LASIK surgeon – before you decide to have surgery.
1. How many LASIK surgeries has the surgeon performed?
It’s very important to find out exactly how many LASIK surgeries the surgeon himself has performed. Many corporate centers will tell you their overall volume, but not necessarily disclose your specific surgeon’s experience. Dr. Updegraff has performed more than 50,000 LASIK procedures over the course of his career, and he was the third surgeon to perform LASIK in the United States.
2. Is the surgeon skilled in all refractive surgeries?
Your LASIK surgeon should be trained and experienced in all refractive surgeries. Since not everyone is a candidate for LASIK, the surgeon should be able to provide you with the procedure that best suits your unique condition. Dr. Updegraff is skilled in performing PRK, ICL, LRI, and premium lens implants, as well as LASIK.
3. Does your surgeon have fellowship training in cornea, refractive, and laser surgery?
Subspecialty fellowship training is an exclusive opportunity reserved for only a select few surgeons in the country. Dr. Updegraff attended a year-long cornea, refractive, and laser surgery fellowship at the University of Houston-Texas in addition to completing his 4-year ophthalmology residency at the Louisiana State University Eye Center.
4. Does the surgeon use the latest in laser technology?
Updegraff Vision is home to the most advanced laser technologies available. Because Dr. Updegraff coordinates directly with laser manufacturers, he is able to offer the latest in laser technology. Additionally, he personally calculates the factors that will provide the best possible outcome for you, choosing from multiple laser treatment options.
5. Will the surgeon perform all-laser LASIK?
There are two main advantages to using a femtosecond laser (which enables the LASIK surgery to be all-laser) instead of a handheld microkeratome blade – not only does the femtosecond laser more accurately create a flap, it also markedly increases the safety of the procedure. Dr. Updegraff introduced all-laser LASIK technology to the Tampa Bay area eight years ago, when other surgeons were still calling it a “gimmick”. And unlike many other LASIK surgeons today, who charge their patients an extra fee to “upgrade” to this more advanced technology, all-laser LASIK is the standard of care each patient receives at Updegraff Vision.
6. Does only one surgeon use the lasers, and are they stationary?
There are three ways a surgeon can gain access to a laser: by buying it and being personally responsible for it, by leasing it and having it delivered as needed (called a “roll on/roll off” laser), or by paying to use a laser at another surgical center. Dr. Updegraff owns his own lasers and is the only surgeon who uses them; they remain in the Updegraff Vision LASIK suite at all times. By being responsible for his lasers and using them in every procedure, Dr. Updegraff is intimately familiar with them and knows every time they’re used.
7. Is the surgical center climate controlled?
Patients should insist on a climate-controlled room with appropriate air filtering for dust, humidity, and air quality. Because the bed of the cornea underneath the flap is like a magnet for particles in the air, any nearby lint will be drawn to the eye. That’s why Dr. Updegraff created a “lint-free” environment in the Updegraff Vision LASIK suites. HEPA filters and a unique air-conditional system purify the air, and Dr. Updegraff and all surgical assistants wear expensive Biogel gloves to prevent debris from entering the eye.
8. Are sterile procedures used for every surgery?
Because it’s such a quick procedure and causes such little discomfort to the patient, it is easy to think of LASIK as something other than surgery. To be assured of sterile conditions, you should ask if surgical drapes, eye drapes, gloves, and gowns are used by the surgeon, the technicians, and the patients – as they are at Updegraff Vision.