Dr. Chaiken’s Keys to Overall Quality Eyecare
Since starting my general practice in 1980, refraction and visual issues have been a primary concern of mine. As a general ophthalmologist, my practice has always had a broad emphasis on contact lenses, external and corneal diseases and cataract surgery. Since completion of my residency and chief residency, I have studied, investigated and conservatively embraced new technologies, always using as my guiding principal how would I want myself or a member of my family treated. Technological breakthroughs have been extraordinary and have given physicians wonderful opportunities to help their patients.
With my strong aversion to creating problems by not being the first one on the block, I have been early (but not the first in New York) to convert to small incision cataract surgery, PRK, and then LASIK. By carefully studying the procedures, attending multiple courses, attending mini-fellowships here and abroad, I have been able to bring my patients these advances with their extraordinary advantages while achieving an extremely low surgical complication rate.
who performs 40-80 LASIKs a day.”
My intraocular surgical and refractive laser practices have developed through referrals of patients and referring physicians whose referral behavior is determined by one thing—outstanding results—I am solely concerned with the long-term ocular health and general well being of my patients, which is why I do not exclusively perform surgery.
LASIK is technically not a difficult operation. It takes little time and compared to intraocular surgery, it demands significantly less dexterity. What it does demand is extreme attention to detail, i.e. the laser room temperature, the laser room humidity, the calibration of the laser, follow-up by the surgeon in the postoperative period, and if necessary aggressive treatment of postoperative problems. Attention to all these details and performance of all these actions is not particularly difficult, but it requires a dedicated, caring, physician who carefully paces himself and his team. There is no advantage to anyone to go to a surgeon who performs 40-80 LASIKs a day. One wrong step by a technician or other staff member could create a very difficult to impossible problem to correct. An attentive physician will never have this problem.
LASIK is a wonderful procedure. Its inherent complication rate is very low as it must be when performing an elective procedure on healthy eyes. However, under the most ideal of circumstances, problems can arise which must be handled appropriately and in a timely manner so adverse results do not occur. It is the responsibility of the operating surgeon to explain the procedure, the risks, the benefits and the limitations in a clear manner. LASIK is only for the motivated patient. Once someone fully understands the procedure, experiences no surprises in the operating room and is given careful, timely postoperative care, the odds of a superb result are outstanding.