Jason Brinton MD joined Hunter Vision at the end of 2014. When my brother Josh and I started figuring out what Hunter Vision would look like back in 2005, another doctor joining the practice was never a part of the plan. Of course, back then we thought the place would be called Hunter LASIK, so what did we know?
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog for this website. Kate tells me that it has been almost a year, and between you and me, she doesn’t look happy about it. “Who is this Kate?” you may wonder. “Why is she so hard on you about these blogs?” you are probably asking. “You do so much… you deserve a nice nap,” you might be thinking right now. Well, I’m with you, and I appreciate how protective—really almost biased—you are.
Orlando, FL— Drs. Joel Hunter and Jason Brinton are Central Florida refractive eye surgeons practicing at Hunter Vision — a refractive eye surgery practice dedicated to treating patients with some of the most advanced technologies and techniques the field has to offer.
According to Dr. Brinton, a refractive lens specialist, there are many reasons a patient may not be a great candidate for LASIK surgery. Fortunately, for those patients there are other wonderful procedures available to correct vision. Dr. Brinton says, “Often patients will come to our office with the idea that LASIK can fix all of their vision issues. While LASIK is an amazing procedure with incredible outcomes, it has limitations when the vision issue is caused by an aging lens inside the eye.” For those patients who are usually over the age of 40, refractive lens exchange or cataract surgery can be a great option to correct and restore both near and distance vision.
I'm always surprised that the most common fear about laser vision correction I hear in clinic is, "My eyes work now, they just need contacts or glasses. I haven't done this yet because I worry that I could go blind and be in the dark." If I was being hard on myself, I'd say that this surprises me because I've been a doctor long enough that now I'm out of touch. If I was trying to give it a good spin, I'd say that it surprises me because of what I know about the safety of modern laser surgery. I choose the second one. Saying I've become out of touch with people's ideas about laser because I'm a laser surgeon is about as silly as thinking a 213 nanometer solid state laser and 193 nanometer argon-fluoride laser will have similar absorption through balanced salt solution.
Sometimes I will say to people, "You're one of the people that did the right thing not getting LASIK 10 years ago, because the technology today will give you better vision than you could have had then." And they will say, "Look behind you." And I will turn and see that the Publix cashier has scanned all my items, and then I pay and leave the store.
If you've ever been to an eye doctor, put your face in a machine, and been asked to stare straight ahead, chances are it was either an auto refractor that quickly measures your prescription for glasses, or that it blew a puff of air in your eye and made you hate eye doctors forever. If it was the second one, I am sorry. That machine, called a non-contact tonometer, measure the pressure inside the eye and used to terrify me when I was a kid. What's worse, I found out decades later, it's not even super accurate! There are much more accurate, less terrifying ways to check eye pressure. The Hunter Vision mission statement is that we will love patients well, and never shoot a surprise jet stream of air at their eye. I think that's it, anyway. I don't have the exact wording here with me.
When we asked our staff to come up with questions that people might want to see addressed in this blog, someone put this one in. That means we have someone on staff that is either a real animal lover, really dedicated to LASIK, or is really horrible at coming up with questions. I choose to believe the second one. "When given a set of choices in which the correct answer is unknowable or irrelevant, choose the one that delivers to you the most happiness." For example, Benjamin Franklin said that, and since there's virtually no way to know if that is true, you can choose to believe me or not, whichever makes you happier.*
Amazingly, or frighteningly, an ophthalmologist is only required to have a weekend course on LASIK in order to be certified to perform the procedure. There are no boards exams for LASIK. It is part of the reason that the "see how many procedures your surgeon has performed" can be useful advice. Of course, it is still possible to do a bad job thousands of times (I once had a haircut from a lady at Great Clips that made me look startlingly like Hitler even though she probably did a thousand haircuts that week), but it is a lot less likely. The reason I chose to spend a year with Dr. Durrie, is that I wanted to be really, really good at LASIK before I started doing it on my friends and family.
About once a week I will see a patient who was told that they are a good candidate for LASIK, but actually should probably avoid getting it. Several times a week, however, I'll see a patient that was told that they wouldn't be a good LASIK candidate, but is actually a great candidate. Most commonly, the person told they shouldn't have LASIK was given "astigmatism" as the reason.
The other day, I had a patient that had a lot of questions about price. In general, I try to avoid this discussion because something feels "icky" to me about a doctor talking money with a patient. I've done everything I can to avoid the misconception that I ever recommend a treatment because of money.