In this article, Dr. Bowers discusses the benefits of LASIK surgery at Piedmont Eye Center.
As Piedmont Eye Center’s sole LASIK surgeon who has provided our region with this wonderful technology for over 20 years, I’ve learned that distinguishing yourself and profession is the key to long-term success. When I first decided to offer LASIK, I had the choice of leasing equipment that would be brought in by truck or to invest in the purchase of our own equipment. Although a significant cost, I just could not fathom a delicate laser being wheeled in on a truck to treat my patients. Despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to own and house a climate-controlled laser suite, I’m glad I made that initial decision.
Likewise, some providers engaged in price-wars to see how low they could go to attract high volumes of patients. Again, a tough decision was faced. My parents instilled in me that people are smarter than that and grounded in me the idea of “you get what you pay for”. I decided quickly not to ever become a “discount” LASIK provider and that a patient’s vision was more valuable than that. Although it likely meant doing fewer procedures, I rest assured knowing I was providing the highest level of care possible with full attention to the patients who would be entrusting their care to me. It’s paid off as my patient volume remains steady and word-of-mouth continues to be my greatest strength in generating referrals. What a privilege!
As technology advances, so too does the cost of staying current. Despite the cost, I have maintained a commitment to keeping this procedure as up-to-date as possible. It continues to cost me, but patients appreciate knowing they are getting the most current technology. It is also a privilege in attaining the level of Lynchburg’s only iLASIK™ provider, which is a designation assurance that everything is kept current in the specialty of refractive surgery using the renowned and proven VISX™ platform.
Since I started providing LASIK, I’ve never charged patients for the long comprehensive dilated eye examination it takes to determine if a patient is a candidate. I simply did not want any patient to feel pressured into making a decision to have it just because they paid for the examination. There is never an obligation toward having surgery and we are even happy doing second opinion exams on patients scheduled elsewhere; something we do regularly. We simply want patients to be fully informed. I still meet with every patient on every examination to individually discuss their unique findings and review options. Surprisingly, meeting your surgeon on the first examination is not universal. At Piedmont Eye Center, it is our standard as are all follow-ups after the procedure unless other arrangements are made or requested by the patient themselves, perhaps due to travel requirements.
Finally, being local is important. More and more ophthalmology practices are being bought out by private equity groups, whose directive is to funnel profits from a newly acquired practice to investors who themselves are often located outside of our own community. I’m proud to be part of a group that is now the area’s only fully locally owned multispecialty ophthalmology practice. My practice partners and I live in Lynchburg where we have been raising our children and grandchildren (I’m up to eight!) and supporting our own community. Yes, we’ve been approached to sell out. But, again, remaining local to our community has become our standard. We hope it’s yours.
In reflection, have these decisions to distinguish ourselves over the past 20 years paid off to make LASIK at Piedmont Eye Center successful? Absolutely! I would not change a single decision despite the added investment and commitment it has taken. There is no greater compliment than what the community has done in supporting me and my colleagues as we have grown from a single physician practice to nine specialized eye care providers over a relatively short time! We are truly blessed beyond measure in what our own community has done to support our tremendous growth and we are all committed in providing our community with the best locally owned multi-specialized ophthalmic eye care possible.
Come see what makes LASIK at Piedmont Eye Center different from the rest. You owe it to your vision.