Published September 20, 1999 | Today’s Health Monitor
San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group
The room was dark except for a faint night light. The patient lay back comfortably in the motorized chair and looked up at the red blinking light in the operating microscope. He could hear Dr. Bud Kurwa’s reassuring voice telling him the procedure had about 30 seconds more to go. He felt reassured and relaxed and all the anxiety he had when he first walked into the Kurwa Eye Center vanished. He could hear the laser pulses 1,2,3,4…but could feel nothing.
The patient had spent three years researching the laser procedure before finally coming to the Kurwa Eye Center. He was very nearsighted and had struggled for years with thick, ugly glasses and had more recently tried contact lenses. Because of his astigmatism, the lenses were never comfortable and he had spent thousands of dollars in vain looking for a miracle. About five years ago he heard about a new technology called Lasik that sounded promising.
He was cautious and waited on the sidelines continuing his struggle with glasses and contacts. He wanted to see how the results of this new technology would turn out. Monitoring the results from friends who had had the procedure, following the news about Lasik, scanning the Internet and attending seminars. Although fully knowledgeable about the technology, he could not convince himself to trust an unknown doctor with his eyes. Then three months ago, one of his cousins had his surgery with Dr. Kurwa and told him to go see him.
Before making an appointment he checked out Dr. Kurwa’s background. He found that Dr. Kurwa has been involved in ophthalmic laser technology for more than 20 years, had studied in Oxford and in Birmingham, England and trained in ophthalmology in Chicago. He was Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He had been an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Texas before moving into practice in Los Angeles. Dr Kurwa had been a clinical Assistant Professor at USC. Basic homework done, he went for a complimentary evaluation with Dr. Kurwa and felt very comfortable with the doctor and his consultation.
So here he was looking at the blinking light when suddenly the rat tat tat noise of the laser stopped and he could hear the doctor’s voice telling him the procedure was over, everything had gone smoothly and he could now sit up.
Dr. Kurwa asked him casually to open his eyes and tell him what time it was. He opened his eyes and saw the clock on the wall. It was 3:35 p.m., he remembered he had looked at the clock with his glasses when he entered the laser room and it was 3:25 p.m. He thought, had anything really changed? He had only been in the laser room about 10 minutes and had felt like nothing happened. The clock looked the same as it did prior to the procedure he could not see that anything different had happened to his vision, he saw the same.
Suddenly he felt rather concerned, he looked at the doctor and blurted out “Hey doc, did you do anything? I see the same as before. That laser made a lot of noise but I did not feel anything was done to my eyes. This feels like the Emperor’s new clothes story. I do not see any different then before!” He got down off the table and started to walk towards the door. That is when Dr Kurwa called out, “Hey you forgot your old glasses. They are sitting on the side table, you want to keep them as a memory or would you like to donate them to the Lions Foundation?” That nearly knocked him over, he reached upto his face to look for the glasses and suddenly the proverbial light came on. He had read the time on the clock with no glasses where as before the surgery he could not even see the clock, without glasses, let alone read the time on it. He looked around the room and could see everything.
This is the miracle of Lasik surgery. A revolutionary laser technology that is changing the way we see day in and day out. The technology is expensive, in the range of around $1,500 per eye but most patients feel that a few years of contact lenses, glasses, solutions and eye exam costs will more than pay for the procedure and the risk of eye scratches, contact lens handling, the risk of infections, losing the lenses, etc. is all permanently eliminated.
Today laser technology has treated hundreds of thousands of patients who have been able to achieve freedom from glasses. The laser technology is FDA approved and is being used in almost all Western and many Eastern countries..
The ability to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism has made this technology a godsend for people with glasses and contact lenses.