This year, we’re celebrating a big birthday milestone. For 20 years, the Piedmont Eye Center team has been helping patients improve their vision with iLASIK™ surgery! The procedure has come a long way since the initial studies in changing cornea curvature to correct refractive errors was first began in 1948. It wasn’t until 1995 that the excimer laser would be approved by the FDA to correct nearsightedness. In 1999, Piedmont Eye Center was able to offer the region this wonderful option. Since then, new technologies, such as iLASIK, have been added to the procedure to improve the experience and make it an even more effective option for patients looking to see clearer without the use of glasses or contacts. To commemorate our history with iLASIK, we talked with Dr. Bowers, our iLASIK surgeon, about the history of iLASIK at our facility as well as what the future holds for the procedure.
What factors went into Piedmont offering iLASIK surgery?
Dr Bowers: When laser vision correction was just getting started, I knew it had great potential over previous methods. Several friends and colleagues encouraged me to provide the procedure. It was a big decision, however, considering the cost of the equipment and additional training involved. Commitment to staying current helped us to achieve the designation as an iLASIK provider. As an experienced cornea and cataract surgeon with thousands of surgeries under my belt, the transition was pretty easy. Looking back, it was the best decision I’ve made in my professional career and something I really love doing.
How many iLASIK procedures has Piedmont done since introducing it?
Dr. Bowers: Nearly 10,000 corneal refractive procedures (including iLASIK and PRK) have been performed since we started in 1999.
Since Piedmont Eye Center uses the most advanced technology, can you give a brief history of the technology and tools used over time for iLASIK?
Dr. Bowers: When I committed to providing iLASIK, I had several requirements. First, I wanted to own and care for the equipment (as opposed to leasing one brought in on a regular basis). A stationary unit kept in an environmentally-controlled laser suite meant less factors that could impact treatment. Secondly, I committed to keeping current with hardware and software updates as they came out. As a result, I was able to meet the highest standard of being an iLASIK provider. Finally, with the introduction of the Intralase laser, we were able to transition to an all laser procedure from creating the corneal flap to treatment. As a result of these advancing technologies, and keeping current, we have seen even better outcomes. Some of these advancements include customized wavefront treatment as well as eye tracking and iris registration software—all of which have led to more precise results.
What do you love most about performing iLASIK surgery?
Dr. Bowers: It’s an extremely rewarding procedure with dramatic outcomes for patients not used to wearing glasses or contacts to see well. So we never tire of seeing a lot of happy patients. I’ve also enjoyed treating patients from all backgrounds including friends, family, fellow physicians and surgeons (including other eye doctors), and athletes.
Any favorite success stories over the years?
Dr. Bowers: I had one patient unexpectedly thank me for his weight loss, something he has battled for years. Somehow his ability to see better without glasses inspired him to become more active outdoors, which helped achieve his goal. I treated one college athlete who went on to play in the NFL. Hopefully, his improved vision was a small part, although I’m sure it had more to do with his athletic ability. I always think it’s especially successful when I see family members and friends of past iLASIK patients coming in for treatment, which happens quite often. Most of our referrals come by word-of-mouth, which is the greatest compliment.
Where do you see the future of iLASIK going at Piedmont? Any new technologies on the horizon?
I think iLASIK will be around for the next decade, at least, with continued added improvements in the technology. There are some potential corneal procedures on the horizon which could greatly modify or replace the procedure, but it will be a challenge to replace a very precise and proven method as iLASIK has shown to be. I have many years left at Piedmont Eye Center and plan to offer the procedure as long as I am able. My practice is committed in offering this service since it is such an added benefit in treating vision problems.
Celebrate Our 20 Years of LASIK With Us!
Since 1999, we’ve taken pride in the achievements our award-winning team has made with iLASIK surgery. To celebrate, we are giving away a full reimbursement on iLASIK surgery to one lucky winner who receives iLASIK from January 2019 to October 22, 2019. If you’re ready to improve your vision with iLASIK, sign up for a free consultation today!