Choose Your Floater Treating Doctor Carefully
The best laser doctor for you may not be the one closest to you or the one promoted by the laser manufacturer.
You have floaters. You take the initiative to do your research and pretty quickly you found The Floater Doctor. Congratulations, you are on your way to get some relief from those eye floaters. Unfortunately for many of you, Southern California is a long ways away and your initial excitement fades a bit with the reality that this might be fairly inconvenient. If you do some more research you may find someone closer to you who owns the same laser touted by the manufacturer.
STOP! Read this page. There are many considerations before your make your appointment with what could be a very inexperienced doctor who is using a laser that in our opinion could put you at additional risk for complications.
LASER VITREOLYSIS IS A SKILLS-BASED PROCEDURE
The YAG laser is not an automated, software-driven device like LASIK, for instance. Every shot of the laser is a separate decision: treat this group? or leave it alone. Start from the center of mass or from the edge? Is that too close to the retina? How do I get the floater to move more central?, Where to adjust the handheld laser lens? What energy settings? You get the idea. Every patient is different. The amount, type distribution, optics, personality and expectations are all factors to consider in tailoring a treatment.
MALCOLM GLADWELL'S 10,000 HOUR RULE
In his book 'Outliers', he suggests that to master any skill, you must practice in a focused manner for 10,000 hours. We don't know how many actual hours Dr. Johnson has actually sat at the laser, but this is the only professional activity he has performed in his medical practice since 2007. No one can match that single-minded approach and experience in treating eye floaters. None of this is taught anywhere. It is a skill set only obtained by performing thousands of treatments, each consisting of several hundred or more individually aimed laser bursts and learning a little bit more from each aimed shot of the laser and from each patient interaction.
ANY OPHTHALMOLOGIST WITH A LASER CAN OFFER TREATMENT
Most ophthalmologist have (or have access to) a YAG laser. They are very common and used to treat cataract patients. At least one laser manufacturer is promoting their laser as a floater-treating laser and presumably benefitting from a sales pitch that encourages general ophthalmologist to treat eye floaters. Eye doctors have a business and they are often looking for another procedure to offer and another profit center for their practice.
AFTER SELLING THE LASER, WHERE IS THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING?
There simply is no teaching program, training course, certification or skills-transfer process in place to train doctors new to the treatment of eye floaters. Other than a few bulleted points on their web site the doctor is on their own.
THE NEWER LASER HAS SOME RISKIER DESIGN FEATURES.
The newer version of my laser, the one being promoted as a floater treatment laser is for the most part identical to the one we use with one exception: The light source used to illuminate the back of the eye. That one change allows the doctor use to the light source in a position that decreases the certainty of where the laser will deliver its energy. That one change, we believe, will increase the risk of losing track of where the laser is focused and potentially deliver energy where it may damage the retina or the natural lens possibly causing a cataract.
SO HOW IS THE FLOATER DOCTOR PRACTICE DIFFERENT?
We believe the time generously spent with the patient is important to our success and reputation. It allows the patients to ask questions and receive in return lengthy, thorough, and honest explanations. We see only 3-5 patients per day and spend 60-90 minutes with each patient or more as needed to give them full attention and focus.
CAN WE RECOMMEND ANYONE ELSE FOR YOU?
No we can not. Dr. Johnson has treated patients who have been refused treatment by others because the floater problem was too complex, or were partially treated with unsatisfactory results. We have seen complications by other doctors who are new to the laser. We strongly believe that this is such a rare skill set that it is usually worth the extra expense and inconvenience to see Dr. Johnson in Southern California.
Injury to lens from another doctor new to the use of YAG laser
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