New Approaches Create a Larger Pool of candidates for Elective Eye Surgery

By Milad Estivan
Wednesday - November 05, 2008

By: Milad Estivan

CEO/Member of Pan Pacific Laser Vision Center, LLC.

In 1999, Robert Matsushita had been warned by Pan Pacific Laser Vision Center (PPLLVC) surgeon Dr. Stephen Gee, MD, that he was not a good candidate for laser eye surgery: His corneas were too thin, his pupils too large, and he was extremely nearsighted. The 39-year-old technician at (PPLVC) said he had resigned himself to being permanently tethered to the glasses and contact lens he had worn since third grade.

But four years ago, Robert Matsushita underwent one of several relatively new procedures, this one known as Custom VueTM LASEK, which is designed for patients who can’t have Lasik surgery because it removes too much corneal tissues and might have caused him visual side effects such as severe halos at night. An eye exam four years later showed he could see 20/20 without glasses or contact lens.

“It’s pretty great,” Robert said of the elective surgery that cost less than $4,000.00 both eyes. “I never thought I’d be able to wake up and see the alarm clock or be able to improve my Karate which has been my dream.”

Over 5 years ago, I (the author) underwent Lasik after years of juggling reading and distance glasses, which I often lost, and contact lenses, which I hated. Although I still need reading glasses, I am thrilled I can do everything else unencumbered by eyewear. “I learned how to surf which was a dream come true even at the age of 50”.

The experiences of both of us are emblematic of the maturing market for procedures to correct common vision problems, especially nearsightedness, a condition that affects one in four Americans.

In the early years, hype about Lasik, an acronym for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, which reshapes the cornea using cool pulses from a laser, spawned frenzied growth. Surgery centers sprouted in suburban shopping malls, high-profile advertising campaigns featuring celebrities having the procedures was abounded, but in recent years the frenzy has given way to a more measured approach. While some procedures such as Lasik and Lasek/PRK (an operation that requires a longer recovery time) are popular in patients younger than 55, newly approved intraocular lenses are used for older patients as well as those who can not have laser vision corrections done.

Lasik remains by far the dominant procedure; the growth of the procedure had plateaued at about 1.4 million procedures annually. In Hawaii, an estimated 3,500 procedures were done last year. Although Cost varies from about $2,000 to $2,900 per eye in Hawaii, Pan Pacific Laser Vision Center is offering it an average of $1,600 per eye, price also include life time commitment policy. Because it is considered elective, the surgery is rarely covered by insurance.

At the same time, improvements in the technology have broadened the pool of patients, Doctors have gotten smarter about picking good candidates and become more cautious thus providing the public with more safety and better results than ever.

Many published studies have tracked vision-correction surgery since its inception in the 1990s, we thinks today’s results “are dramatically better than they were five years ago.” More than 6.5 million Americans have had laser eye surgery in United States alone.

A World of Candidates

Lasik and the second most popular procedure—PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy—are designed to correct three refractive errors: myopia, or nearsightedness, the inability to see distant objects, which is the most common visual problem; farsightedness, also known as hyperopia, which is difficulty seeing close objects; and astigmatism, a visual distortion that causes blurred vision.

One key question—the long-term stability of results—appears to have been answered, at least for now. Studies have reported on PRK (15 years) and LASIK (10 years) that patients underwent either Lasik or PRK, their vision was stable and they had no long-term complications.

So now that (PPLVC) and its surgeon Dr. Stephen Gee, MD with over 13,000 procedures are offering the best technology available today at the most affordable prices in Hawaii. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR.

For your free consultation call 949-9200 or visit us at HYPERLINK “” Mahalo.




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