IntraLase

A Patient Guide to iLASIK and Refractive Surgery

Our latest edition of A Patient Guide to iLASIK and refractive surgery is available for download today!

Click below to get your copy:

A Patient Guide To Refractive Surgery

(click image to download your copy)

Get Ready For Summer With Laser Vision Correction

The Harman Eye Clinic

903 Medical Center Drive, Arlington WA 98223

360-474-2561  360-435-8595  FAX 360-435-5233

http://www.20Better.com

Weighing The Risks and Benefits of LASIK

 

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of LASIKRecently, we received a comment on Facebook expressing disappointment for his sister who returned to glasses some two years later.  I can imagine how he felt seeing his sister in glasses so soon after surgery.

The circumstances where a patient would need to return to glasses two years after surgery is very unusual.  It is impossible to explore reasons without visiting an ophthalmologist’s office.  The most obvious thought is that the patient was in her 40’s when she had surgery and hadn’t fully appreciated the onset of presbyopia.

Forty-something patients who are nearsighted usually have progressive lenses, bifocals or take off their glasses for best near vision.  After surgery, they cannot take off their glasses and so now require reading glasses.  It is unclear, however, that this is the situation with the commenter’s sister.

It makes us wonder how well people prepare for eye surgery.  Eye procedures are certainly not on an equal plane as buying glasses or contacts.  Refractive procedures are permanent changes to the eye.  LASIK changes the shape of your cornea.  We provide very precise, wavefront, computer-driven, customized laser vision correction. Even so, it is the preliminary discussions we have prior to LASIK that give a patient the best chance of successful surgery.

The VISX and IntraLase laser technology is considered the gold-standard of LASIK. We spend considerable time before surgery to screen patients to explore if there are any factors that will impact a successful outcome.  We remind patients that we are working with each person’s individual health situation and ability to see, noting their specific lifestyle vision requirements.  Patients who are seeking surgery in their 40’s are given special counseling, for they are heading for years when they will most likely need reading glasses. From the Patient Guide for Successful LASIK:

Not all people are candidates for LASIK.  Here is one discussion we hold with all people before they make an appointment:

  • Are you able to see close to 20/20 with glasses or contacts? If answer is yes, then you may be a good candidate so far! (If no, read the last paragraph).
  • Do you consider your vision to be normal with the exception of glasses? If you answered yes you may be a good candidate so far! (If no, read the last paragraph)
  • Do you have any history of serious eye disease: glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retina surgery? Yes, you are probably not a good candidate. (Read the last paragraph).
  • Have you ever worn contact lenses? If yes, you will need to be out of your contact lenses for 2 weeks for soft lenses, and a minimum of 3 weeks for hard contacts plus additional weeks for each decade you have worn contacts, before you come in for a dilated evaluation appointment. You could come in for an initial evaluation to meet your surgeon and receive motivation to stay out of your lenses.
  • Females: Are you pregnant? Yes, you are probably not a good candidate until nursing has stopped. Your vision may change during your pregnancy and the calculations for surgery will not be accurate for the long-term. It is far better to wait.

NOT A GOOD CANDIDATE? iLASIK and PRK are designed with a healthy eye in mind. This surgery will not improve poor vision in unhealthy eyes and could potentially make your present condition worse. It may help you to discuss with your eye doctor further to uncover reasons why iLASIK or PRK may not be for you. If you are unsure, you are welcome to come for a free LASIK evaluation.

After talking with a staff member, we will ask that you come for a free but comprehensive eye exam and plan to be here a minimum of 2 hours.  During this time, our doctors will look for reasons why we should not advance toward LASIK.  All surgeries contain risks and benefits.  During this evaluation time, we will weigh risks and benefits in light of each patient’s situation.  Realistic expectations are part of our discussion.

LASIK is a procedure designed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism of patients who are over the age of 21, and have had stable vision for over a year.  It will not correct presbyopia (the need for reading glasses), but there are other refractive options that can address this situation.

We hope these comments are helpful.  For more information, please call 360.435.8595 Ext 1 or schedule a complimentary evaluation to see if any of the refractive surgery options are helpful for you and your vision needs.

The Harman Eye Clinic

903 Medical Center Drive, Arlington WA 98223

360-474-2561  360-435-8595  FAX 360-435-5233

http://www.20Better.com

Patient Solves Dislike of Reading Glasses With Monovision LASIK

Happy Employees at The Harman Eye Clinic

Carolyn Hutchens, an amazing patient coordinator at The Harman Eye Clinic, wrote a few words about her recent refractive surgery experience.  She is pictured above with Director of The ASC, Brandie Somers.

I had Lasik in one eye, and the reason for this is because I am nearsighted.  I was needing new glasses and was thinking the bifocal route (not really wanting to) until Dr. Wietharn recommended trying monovision, one eye sees distance and the other is your near vision.  I tried it with a contact lens first to see if I would like it and it worked for me!  So those bifocal glasses can stay away for as long as good!  All I can say is do the evaluation first.  It’s free and you can discover the options you have.

Congratulations, Carolyn!

 

The Harman Eye Clinic

903 Medical Center Drive, Arlington WA 98223

360-474-2561  360-435-8595  FAX 360-435-5233

http://www.20Better.com

 

News Release: Cascade Regional Eye Center, Inc., PS., Under New Ownership

(July 2, 2014 — Arlington, WA)  DSC_0272 Cascade Regional Eye Center, Inc., PS, dba The Harman Eye Clinic, located at 903 Medical Center Drive, the premier eye surgery center in the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years, has acquired a new owner.  Bruce J. Ballon, MD has sold 50 percent of the practice to Bruce E. Wietharn, MD.  The two doctors will alternately share the role of President and CEO annually in addition to their services as ophthalmologists and eye surgeons since 2002 and 2004 respectively.

The purchase of this practice reflects a long-term relationship built over the past decade.  Each holds the gold-standard of excellence, confidence, depth and continuity in personal service.  Their partner, Natalia V. Bajenova, MD, joined the practice in 2012 and is slated to purchase one-third of the practice in 2022.

Serving patients of the Pacific Northwest since 1984, The Harman Eye Clinic primarily provides advanced customized LASIK surgery as well as Refractive  Multifocal Lens and Standard cataract surgery.   Patients are customarily referred and co-managed through area eye doctors for surgery; however, patients may seek surgical solutions for their eye challenges through appointments.

For more information about The Harman Eye Clinic and its services, visit www.20Better.com or All About LASIK, or call 360.435.8595.DSC_0273

 

LASIK for Summer!

More About LASIK

Eye Surgery Decision Is Made Easier with Introductions

An Amazing Vision Journey, by Crystal Buffon

First Published on March 31, 2009

The decision to have surgery is a difficult one since there are so many options out there, but after the first appointment and introduction to Dr. Ballon, there was no doubt in my mnd.

The decision to have surgery is a difficult one since there are so many options out there, but after the first appointment and introduction to Dr. Ballon, there was no doubt in my mnd.

People, everyday take in all the sights this world has to offer. People with the precious gift of unaided vision never quite realize how difficult life can be depending on glasses for the least activity. Many of us require glasses and contact lenses just to achieve everyday tasks. Such is a story of a cataract surgery patient, Dana Whittaker, who recently had ReZoom multifocal lens implants.

Mrs. Whittaker has been wearing glasses since she was 8 years old. Everyday of her life since she was a little girl she has reached for glasses to begin her day.

Mrs. Whittaker states that prior to making the decision to have any surgery she tried to wear all types of contact lenses but due to comfort issues, everyday care and a battle with dry eyes, she was unable to continue to wear contact lenses. Dana returned to wearing glasses and back to the drawing board with her journey to be free of glasses.

“The decision to have surgery is a difficult one since there are so many options out there, but after the first appointment and introduction to Dr. Ballon, there was no doubt in my mind.” Mrs. Whittaker states.

She trusts her surgeon and all of the staff at The Harman Eye Clinic, “Everyone at The Harman Eye Clinic is truly topnotch! They are professional and very helpful. I have never been to such a place.” says Dana.

Mrs. Whittaker spent years waiting for the right surgery to come along. She watched the advances in the medical community from RK, PRK to iLASIK. And then, in recent years, she discovered cataract surgery with multifocals lenses.

“This surgery is great for young middle aged people who do not wish to wear glasses anymore at any distance,” Mrs. Whittaker says, “Now I’m free of the daily hassles of wearing corrective lenses. And the great part is you don’t even have to have cataracts to have the surgery!”

Mrs. Whittaker states that on the day of surgery, July 1, 2008, she felt surprisingly at ease. The doctor made her feel comfortable and she reiterates, all of the surgery staff were great.

“There was never a moment that someone wasn’t talking to me.”

Having the surgery truly changed her life; she is a Grandma without glasses.

She can play tennis and read her favorite book without ever having to pick up a pair of glasses of any kind.

“The best part is,” she declares, “I can drive at night in the pouring down rain without a worry. Before surgery I wouldn’t drive in the dark at all.”

Mrs. Whittaker says that she would recommend this surgery through The Harman Eye Clinic to anyone and everyone. Now that she is without glasses she feels she looks younger and more alive with life.

______________________
Crystal Buffon, is a stay-at-home-mom and has worked as a refractive surgery coordinator at The Harman Eye Clinic. She underwent i-LASIK surgery in 2008 and enjoys 20/10 vision. For more information about i-LASIK or Multifocal lens implants, please feel free to call us at 360.435.8595 or email at info@20better.com.

FAQs About LASIK

FAQs about LASIK — Correcting Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, and Astigmatism

What is the ideal age for LASIK?

LASIK can be performed as soon as age 18, but it is preferred to wait until age 21 and the eyeglass prescription must be stable, ideally for two years.

There is no maximum age for LASIK, but patients over 60 often will have cataract formation, and when vision is affecting activities of daily life, cataract surgery is performed, often with an advanced technology, multifocal lens implant.  LASIK can be used to  fine tune the implant results for optimum visual results.

What are contraindications for LASIK?

Any known damage or disease process is likely to be a concern, and at least a relative contraindication to LASIK. Patients who carefully share their medical history create the groundwork for best surgeon/patient relationship, and ultimately the best visual outcome for the individual.  Here are a few of these concerns:

  • Autoimmune diseases can cause corneal problems and healing problems and are an absolute contraindication for the procedure.
  • Pregnancy and nursing can cause changes in the vision prescription, so it is best to wait at least 3 months after weaning before having measurements for LASIK.
  • Ocular herpes is a contraindication to LASIK, but some surgeons may feel it is permissible as long as there has been no activity for over one year, and no corneal scarring is present.
  • Severe dry eye is a relative contraindication to LASIK, but mild cases can often be treated successfully prior to LASIK.

What are the risks of LASIK?

The most feared complication is infection.  Antibiotic eye drops are prescribed to help minimize the risk, which has been quoted at about 1/1000.  It is best to avoid swimming, hot tubs and eye makeup for a week after surgery to help prevent problems.

How long does one need to be out of contact lenses before measurements for LASIK can be done?

The general rule is 2 weeks for soft lenses; and 3 weeks for rigid (Gas Permeable) contacts, plus one week for each decade of wear (for example, out of gas permeable contacts  for 7 weeks if you have been wearing them for 40 years.)

What prescription can LASIK treat?

Myopia, up to 11.0 diopters of correction, with or without astigmatism up to -3 diopters (Contrast vision is diminished after treatment of about 10 diopters, and so phakic intraocular lenses such as Verisyse or Visian lenses may be preferred).

Hyperopia, up to 3 diopters of correction with or without astigmatism up to +2 Diopters.

Mixed astigmatism, up to 5 diopters.  In mixed astigmatism, the unequal curvature of the cornea (and sometimes also the lens inside the eye) results in one meridian of the eye to be farsighted and a second meridian (perpendicular to the first) to be nearsighted.  Mixed astigmatism usually can be successfully treated with LASIK but results might be less predictable than surgical correction of simple nearsighted astigmatism.

Will I still need to wear glasses?

I like to say, “Nothing is as good as original equipment from the manufacturer when you are a teenager!”  Of course, after age 40 everyone is expected to need reading glasses or bifocals.  Some people may need night driving glasses, especially if nearsightedness (myopia) is intentionally under-corrected in older patients to preserve some reading vision without glasses.

What else should I know about LASIK?

There are several ways to approach your quest for better vision and vision without depending on glasses or contact lenses.  We are happy to answer general questions and welcome them here through your comments.

However, questions that are related to your particular health and potential for successful surgery can best be answered through a complimentary evaluation appointment.  At our clinic, you will receive a comprehensive dilated exam with extensive measurements and education.  Your questions can be addressed in real time when you doctor sees your health’s big picture.  At the end of two hours, you will be equipped to proceed with knowledge and confidence.  When we can help you further, please make an appointment through our website, 20better.com, or here. 

When we can help you further, please make an appointment through our website, 20better.com, or here.

Eye Surgeon, Dr. Bajenova

Eye Surgeon and Ophthalmologist, Dr. Bajenova has arranged to see patients in Edmonds on Wednesdays.

Eye Surgeon and Ophthalmologist, Dr. Bajenova has arranged to see patients in Edmonds on Wednesdays.

Dr. Bajenova sees patients in our Arlington Clinic and Surgery Center and also in our Edmonds office See Directions

Dr. Bajenova brings a fresh and professional love for ophthalmology to The Harman Eye Clinic. Her ability to speak fluent Russian and English is a wonderful asset for the Northwest community!

Dr. Bajenova performs refractive surgery including Bladeless CustomVue iLASIK, PRK, medical laser surgery, Refractive Lens Exchange, Cataract Surgery with standard or premium upgrade multifocal lenses and works very closely with our co-managing doctors throughout the northwest to bring about the best in eye surgery and the convenience of local postoperative care. She also provides Avastin and Lucentis injections for macular degeneration patients.

Dr. Bajenova welcomes new patients for refractive surgeryLASIK, PRK and Mutlifocal Premium Lens Implants.Dr. Bajenova is recognized for her unbending desire to give 100% of her attention and energy to any given activity. Dr. Bajenova believes, along with her partners, Dr. Ballon and Dr. Wietharn, that the relationship between doctor and patient is the most important element to successful eye surgery.She holds impressive credentials.

Dr. Bajenova came to the United States from Russia, 1999. She attended Khabarovsk Medical University, Khabarovsk, Russia, 1994-1999. From the University of Washington, she received a Bachelor of Science, cum laude in Biology with minor in Music, 2003. She earned her Doctorate in Medicine, with honors, University of Washington School of Medicine, 2008. Her Ophthalmology Residency was completed in Kellogg Eye Center, Ann Arbor, MI, 2012.

Dr. Bajenova’s philosophy is one that connects closely with her patients. She gets involved in their needs and concerns. She enjoys being a part of her patient’s happiness when they improve their vision.

Committed to Excellence! Dr. Ballon, Dr. Wietharn and Dr. Bajenova are partners and plan to work here at The Harman Eye Clinic until the day they retire. This fact is comforting to patients who seek a commitment and wish to develop a rapport with their eye doctor and surgeon.

LASIK: Nearsighted? Farsighted? Astigmatism?

The first step to understanding what LASIK can do for you is to understand vision disorders.  Eyes are amazing. There are mechanical, biological, anatomical aspects of vision. And, we continue to appreciate how specifically different we each interpret what we see. It is true there are people who have surgery and see explicitly clear by the end of their surgery day, yet we know that patients realize their new surgical vision each within their own time frame.  Much depends on overall health of body and emotions. With this knowledge, the Surgeons and Staff act as “training wheels” during the early postoperative days, and are available until support is no longer needed. It is our honor to work with patients at The Harman Eye Clinic.

To review the differences in vision disorders read more.  Be sure to take advantage of the graphic videos that will help demonstrate each vision condition.