� PC Annoyances | Main | Medicine with Open Source twist �

July 30, 2005

Dilated Pupils - Revisited

As I type this entry, I'm wearing my special UV goggles. Now that most of my sight has been restored I can tell you that LASIK surgery was successful. Although, I spent more time waiting in the clinic than I would have preferrred, I do not have very many complaints about the experience. It was painless. The only weird aspect of the procedure is the method of which they hold your eyes open.
Obviously, you cannot move nor blink while the laser is burning away the cornea tissue. You can actually smell the burning. Pretty surreal, huh.

Before, going into the surgery suite, I thought running a LASIK clinic would probably be good money. It seems that the only real overhead is leasing the space. They really don't have permanent staff, as they fly in the surgeon and techs.
The resident ophthalmologist and support technicians are the only staff. Everyone else appears to be there on loan based upon the workload. So, I suppose you could minimize your expenses by maintaining a skeleton crew.

Additionally, most LASIK centers do not accept HMO, PPO provider coverage, so their costs are not regulated by health boards. Essentially, they get their cash immediately. The average client is paying $1000.00 for the procedure.
I quickly did the math and realized that they were making nice coin. They probably see 15-30 patients per day.
I dont know of the attrition rate, most likely there will always be people who decide to cancel and opt out of the surgery.

One of the interesting aspects of the procedure was the fact that they needed two different lasers to fulfill my prescription. I have a stygmatism in my left eye(it was my worse 20/40), so they used a laser designed to handle stigmatisms. Perhaps the apeture on the laser is different, not sure. I do know that the surgeon, constantly tells you not to move look straight at the orange light. Obviously, I adamantly assured him that I would not move and that I could see the orange light very clearly.

They numb the eyes with drops, and then apply a suction to remove any additional fluid. The suction causes a slight pinch, and then they place what appears to be spectrum filters on the eye, to remove all UV light. So, basically you cannot see anything until the laser begins to burn the cornea. The whole procedure takes roughly a minute per eye. Unfortunately, I spent most of the time waiting for the throng of patients to get prepped, verify prescriptions etc.
Actually, there was one lady who was removed from the line twice because they couldn't verify her prescription. The perscription amounts to a computer which does a general eye exam to discern near/far sightedness, stigmatisms, etc.
However, there must have been some uncertainty with the results so they gave here a manual eye examination.
Gosh, I could only imagine what would happen if they goofed on her prescription.

Anyway, I now have 20/20 vision in both eyes, some cool shades and goggles, and neat fanny pack with plenty of eye drops to keep my eyes moist. So, I feel like Steve Austin, and can spot cleavage from three miles.

Posted by AG at July 30, 2005 8:22 PM