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April 17, 2007     Cape Gazette
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April 17, 2007

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32 - CAPE GAZETTE - Tuesday, April 17 - Thursday, April 19, 2007 More prcclsc eye surgery offers new view of the world Patient finally goes through with Lasik By Molly Albertson Cape Gazette staff Spending hundreds of dollars each year on glasses that got in the way and contacts that broke or tore, and having eye-care para- phernalia take up too much space in her luggage got old for Virginia Smith of Lewes. Wearing contacts and back-up glasses when her eyes got tired was a tradition Smith was ready to break. "I'm tired of waking up and putting something on or wearing contacts and taking them out at the end of the night. And just in general, with traveling or on camping trips, you have to worry about more stuff," she said. She's had to correct her vision for more than 20 years. The only other option was to have an operation, which sounded scary, and at $2,000 an eye, cost more than her budget allowed. Three years ago, Smith looked into getting laser surgery, but she said she wasn't ready. That changed when Dr. Rodolfo Rios at Atlantic Eye Care in Lewes bought a Lasik machine for his office. He has the first per- manent machine in the area, he said. Although other doctors offer Lasik, they rely on a surgeon who travels to the area with a portable machine. Rios said he wants to offer the procedure to more of his patients to make it easier to correct their vision. The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of lasers to correct vision in the 1980s, Rios said. Since then, the laser technology continues to improve. The lasers, used to melt The team that will perform Lasik procedures at Atlantic Eye care are (l-r) Marlene Quintanilla, surgical assis- tant; Dr. Rodolfo Rios; and Georgia Toro, surgical assis- tant. tion is almost constant. Although there was a slight risk of going blind, Smith wasn't worried Molly Albert$on photos Virginia Smith lies down for a Lasik procedure that takes because she had faith in Rios and about 10 minutes for each eye and will correct her vision per- in the years that stand behind the manently, procedure. "I read a lot on the internet and away a few layers of eye tissue, vision problems. If the cornea is- asked Dr. Rios lots of questions, are nearly the same as the origi- elliptical, rather than a perfect and I'm not really concerned nals, but the computers that direct orb, it causes astigmatism, about complications," Smith said the movementofthelaserarenow Nearsightedness results from a during an interview before the much improved, similar distortion of the eye's "The technology has improved shape. parallel to computer technology. The effects of a Lasik proce- My unit is much smaller than dure are permanent and patients original versions, and precision will never have to wear glasses has improved with reshaping the for their old problems again. cornea. It's more precise with Though the eye will not go back fewer side effects," Rios said. He to its original shape, all eyes still warms all patients of possible develop presbyopia, the loss of side effects, including seeing close-up focusing. With age, the halos or glares, lens in the eye hardens and cannot As the machines have become change its focus from far away to more precise, doctors can use close-up images. This usually them to correct more problems, happens around the age of 40, "The parameters for Lasik have Rios said. increased. Originally, it was for Smith, who is the insurance nearsightedness, then for astigma- coordinator at Atlantic Eye Care, tisms upto a certain range, then said her nearsightness and astig- for a bigger range. The latest to matism were about to drive her be approved is for farsighted- crazy, so she finally decided to go ness," Rios said. through with minimally invasive The surgery uses the laser to eye surgery. reshape the cornea to adjust mis- She was an ideal candidate for shapen eye tissues that lead to Lasik because her vision prescrip- Health Insurance Premiums too High? Jim Vereneault (302) 227.6438 Good News... Major Delaware Carrier has introduced a brand new series of affordable Individual Health Plans. Features Include: Hospitalization Prescription Medication Several benefits not subject to a deductible .... Preventative Care Office visits for as low as $10 co-pay Lab Work procedure. After surgery, she arranged for her husband to drive her home, where she napped for a few hours and woke up with almost perfect vision. As the eye heals, she wears goggles at night to prevent infection and to keep the cornea safe. Just three days after the surgery, Smith was driving without glass- es. She is now working out and not fussing with frames that bounce on her face during exer- cise. Her contacts are a thing of the past. "It's a miracle. I can see crystal clear. I can look across the yard when I look out the window. I can read my daughter's piano book from across the room," Smith said. She's happy with the results of the procedure, which took less than 20 minutes. "I didn't feel a thing," she said. Contact Molly Albertson at malbertson @ capegazette, corn PAID ADVERTISEMENT New Hope For Carpal Tunnel Sufferers! "rve done all I can, you're just going to have to learn to live with the pain or maybe even have surgery." Delaware - A new free report reveals the symptoms when they diagnose and treat you. shocking truth about carpal tunnel/hand & There may be other options available to your wrist pain your doctor may not kno If which are far more effective. 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