Joel Hunter, MD Refractive Surgeon, Hunter Vision Updated 05/19/17 11:02 AM
Kate, our Clinic Director, found a website with “50 Tough Questions for your LASIK Doctor.” She sent it on to me and thought it would be a good idea if I answered some of them for our blog. I said, “You don’t think people just want to hear about what I did for Thanksgiving or my son’s latest toddler escapades?” She has a point. For a LASIK practice’s blog, there is not a ton of LASIK focused writing. So I’m going to try to answer a few of the questions from the “Tough LASIK Questions” website. There are several good questions on there (and some ridiculous ones), but also, they have this amazing picture.
Here we go.
What percentage of refractive surgery candidates do you decline?
Great question! First off, you wouldn’t believe the variability, found clinic to clinic, in the testing that determines if someone is a candidate for LASIK. There are some places that do the bare minimum (check your prescription, and check to make sure your cornea isn’t too thin), and there are some places that do much more (things like corneal topography, dilated eye exam, cycloplegic refraction, etc.). Now that I come around to what we do at Hunter Vision, I am embarrassed to realize that I have to talk about how much more thorough a 3D LASIK evaluation is than what is done pretty much anywhere else. And I randomly picked this question! (maybe)
The average candidacy rate at many LASIK clinics is in the 85% range. At Hunter Vision, depending on the month, it ranges around 60%. We screen a lot of people out that have LASIK as an option, but not as their best option. The truth is, some people just will do better in glasses for now. On the flip side, some people will have way, way happier lives without glasses and contacts. The 3D candidacy exam is our way of sorting out these people. Kind of like sorting the sheep from the goats, but more like sorting the goats that should wear glasses or shouldn’t wear glasses. (Our editors strongly recommended I remove that terrible joke.) With 3D scans of the retina inside the eye, 3D scans of the cornea and lens at the front of the eye, and everything in between, it starts to become clear who should move toward LASIK and who should not.
But there is one thing that matters as much or more than that. Time. I spend about 20 minutes or so with each person that comes to Hunter Vision for their first (and only) evaluation, in that visit, we work together and figure out what would be best for their eye health and vision needs. My goal is not to get people under a laser, my goal is to provide results that will make people happy. That makes the decision making process more involved, but immeasurably more fun because it means that even with a low candidacy rate, there is a really, really high happiness rate.