LASIK Improves Quality of Life

On his 7th birthday, a young boy from a small farming community in Baylis, IL, was involved in an auto accident that would set the trajectory of his life. The accident left him badly scarred, and for years he was in and out of surgery for functional and cosmetic repairs. His positive interactions with numerous physicians influenced more than just his healing. In fact, this youngster would soon become singularly focused on attending medical school to become a physician caring for patients the way his doctors cared for him.

Today, John A. Waters, M.D., is a board-certified ophthalmologist who understands what he can offer patients is hope. It is the very thing that so many physicians offered him during his recovery.

LASIK is one of the ways Dr. Waters is able to bring hope to those who have been so dependent on glasses and contacts. He understands the issues people struggle with. “For those dependent on glasses and contacts, the fear of losing their contacts or breaking their glasses is very real,” he said. “Imagine waking up in the middle of the night not being able to find your glasses or swimming in the lake and having your contacts fall out.”

It’s not just fear that motivates people to have LASIK though, it’s also the need for an improved quality of life. Contacts can leave eyes feeling dry and uncomfortable, and glasses are difficult for people with active lifestyles. Then, there are those who’ve never worn glasses but in their 40’s are now frustrated with the need for reading glasses.

Today, most people know someone who has had LASIK, and it’s become a popular choice for vision correction. LASIK uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea and restore functional vision. When considering LASIK, the surgeon’s experience is important. Back in 1989, Dr. Waters attended the first excimer laser course in the world. Since then, he has performed thousands of LASIK procedures to help patients gain freedom from their glasses and contacts.

“The most important thing to me is that I develop a trusting relationship with my patients,” Dr. Waters says. “During the initial exam I want to get to know my patients. I want to know how they function in their everyday lives and if LASIK is their best option.”

It’s really a 2-way street, Dr. Waters explains. “I have to decide if the patient is a good candidate, and the patient must decide if this is something that is worth investing in.” It’s important to know that one treatment doesn’t fit every patient, and an experienced surgeon will be able to offer correction options. For patients who might not be good LASIK candidates but have cataracts, there are other options that include focusing lens implants, which can also reduce dependence on glasses and contacts.

“Ophthalmology is one of the most exciting specialties,” Dr. Waters says. “We are going to see many life-changing treatments in the near future. For example, there are studies being conducted now to actually prevent nearsightedness and to correct the need for glasses after cataract surgery by lasering the lens itself.”

Unlike most medical procedures, LASIK is a choice. “It’s your eyes. They are arguably the most important part of the body in terms of quality of life,” Dr. Waters’ said. “It’s my goal to give patients the best visual outcomes for the highest quality of life,” he said. “Ultimately it’s about giving them the same hope I was given so many years ago.”