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Here’s What We Can Do for You & How Eye Surgery Developed
We are a comprehensive eye care center that offers vision correction in St. George UT. We use the latest surgical techniques to make sure you receive the best care. Read more about our services and a history of eye surgery below.
Laser-assisted Cataract Surgery (LenSx™)
This new laser technology allows unparalleled accuracy in performing portions of the cataract surgery, including correction of astigmatism. The procedure is completely bladeless and offers a level of safety above traditional cataract surgery. Both Dr. Hendrix and Dr. Slade use this technology. Dr. Slade was the first fellow in the country, and one of a handful of ophthalmologists in the world, to begin using this laser.
We use multifocal (minimizes any need for glasses), toric (astigmatic-correcting), and standard intraocular lenses to provide the most accurate vision possible after cataract surgery.
Amazing technology to get you out of your glasses. This laser can be used to treat persons with near-sight, far-sight, and astigmatism. Dr. Hendrix has experienced hands in the use of the bladeless, all laser systems, the IntraLase™ and VISX™. Let him get you a new view of life. Think of the days when you can wake up and not need to put on glasses or contacts. Call today for a free LASIK consultation.
Similar to LASIK, but without a flap. This is the type of refractive surgery the military recommends to soldiers. It is less expensive than LASIK.
There are many types of glaucoma surgery and each must be tailored to the person and circumstance. Examples of glaucoma surgeries include: trabeculectomy (the “gold-standard” of glaucoma procedures), valved and nonvalved tubes, canaloplasty, Trabectome™, and others. Dr. Slade trained with some of the foremost thought leaders in glaucoma and will know what procedure will be best for you. He has excellent results performing a “Utah” trabeculectomy.
Microinvasive Glaucoma Surgery (iStent)
This is a new procedure that is performed at the same time as cataract surgery and used in persons with early glaucoma. About 70% of persons can become less dependent on glaucoma eye drops after this tiny shunt is inserted.
This specially made shunt can be used with a modified trabeculectomy to control intraocular pressure and reduce vision loss from glaucoma.
Have excess, baggy skin around your eyes? Not only can removing this redundancy of skin help improve your vision, but in many cases, your insurance will pay for it. Call for a field of vision test to see how this sagging skin may be affecting your vision.
In addition to blepharoplasty, there are several other types of lid surgery that can improve the eyelid’s function and lead to less tearing and even better vision. Conditions that can be corrected include: eyelid laxity, floppy eyelid syndrome associated with sleep apnea, lateral canthal dehiscense, and facial nerve palsies.
Contact Lens (CTL) Fitting
Dr. Hunt has some of the most experienced hands in all of Southern Utah to get you the best CTL fit possible. Astigmatism? Keratoconus? Prior corneal surgery? No problem. Let Dr. Hunt find the best CTL for your needs.
Macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other eye disease can cause profound vision loss. Dr. Hunt can evaluate your situation and recommend special devices and behaviors to maximize your vision.
The standard for correction of near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. When a careful and accurate glasses refraction is needed, the St. George Eye Center is ready for you.
A common condition of arid environments like Southern Utah. While typically benign, in some persons it can become irritating or sight-threatening. In these situations the pterygium can be removed. We use a special technique during the removal process to ensure a great outcome and to avoid reoccurrence.
When eyes are misaligned, vision can fail to develop properly in children. In adults, double vision can occur. Surgery on the muscles that control the eye can correct these problems.
Technology has always played an important role in eye care. Today, almost every aspect of vision is connected to a product or procedure that wasn’t available even ten short years ago. The cataract surgery you are scheduled for is a good example of how innovations can make a difference. Every aspect of it utilizes recently developed technology that will help us improve your vision. Today, this includes managing your mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma: because now we are able to add another step to your cataract surgery that allows you to treat your open-angle glaucoma in a completely new way. This is important because once diagnosed, you and most patients like you will spend the rest of your lives putting one, two or even three different kinds of drops in every day. Unfortunately, all of these drops will not only be inconvenient, but potentially very expensive. The iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent is designed to reduce your eye pressure and you can have it done at the same time you have cataract surgery.
While mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma is very common, many people are unaware of their condition, especially in the early stages, when their vision may be unaffected. In many people, open-angle glaucoma is characterized by an increase in the intraocular pressure (IOP) of your eye. This pressure is caused by the buildup of fluid within the eye. Too much fluid raises pressure, which can cause the gradual loss of vision. And while glaucoma moves slowly, its damage is irreparable.
The world’s tiniest medical device—iStent—is 20,000 times smaller than the intraocular lenses (IOL) used in your cataract surgery. But the size of iStent is only part of its story. By increasing the eye’s ability to drain fluid, this technology is designed to reduce the pressure in your eye.
iStent works like the stents used to prevent heart attacks and strokes. When blood vessels get clogged, a stent creates access to the vessel flow. While a highly innovative technology, how iStent works is elegantly simple:
• If you have glaucoma, over time the eye’s natural drainage system becomes clogged
• iStent creates a permanent opening through the blockage to improve the eye’s
• Restoring this mechanism lowers and controls pressure within the eye
iStent: managing glaucoma while treating your cataracts
iStent is implanted during your cataract surgery procedure. Once implanted, iStent will begin working to safely and effectively manage pressure. What’s more, patients who receive iStent may experience a reduction in glaucoma medications; but this will be at the discretion of your physician.
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A History of Eye Surgery & Vision Correction in St. George UT
Vision correction might seem to be a recent medical development, but it actually has its roots in some therapies that have been around since before World War II. In fact, state-of-the-art laser vision correction in St. George UT has developed from some of those original treatments as well. Let’s take a look at the fascinating history of eye surgery and vision correction.
Early Vision CorrectionThe earliest forms of vision correction were eyeglasses, and they were created by 13th-century Italians looking for a way to correct vision problems. Quite some time later in Switzerland, the first hand-blown glass contact lenses were made in 1888.
Both of the former inventions improved life for their benefactors, but even then, doctors worked toward finding a more permanent vision solution. They began researching corneal reshaping in the nineteenth century. The earliest methods used were rudimentary, but by the 1940s, a Colombia eye doctor named Jose Barraquer began experimenting with creating flaps in the surface of the cornea using a microkeratome. This procedure was very promising in its success rates.
During the 1950s and 1960s, refractive surgery became more frequent, but the rate of real and accurate correction was typically not very good and it was extremely expensive. During the 1970s, doctors in the Soviet Union invented radial keratotomy (RK), after they realized a young boy with corneal injuries caused by glass fragments could see better after his injuries healed. This led them to hypothesize that the injuries flattened his cornea, and they developed RK, which caught on quickly in the United States as well.
RK utilizes a microkeratome that is a precisely calibrated diamond; it is used to make the needed incisions to reshape the cornea and improve the patient’s vision. Though a popular procedure, RK’s improvement was inconsistent from one patient to another patient, and doctors kept searching for a better vision solution.
Better Vision Solutions
The next big breakthrough in permanent vision correction was the invention of the excimer laser during the 1970s by three researchers at IBM. The excimer laser uses gases like chlorine, mixed with inert gas such as krypton, xenon or argon to emit pulses of ultraviolet light. This UV light can make extremely precise and very minute changes to materials. This invention was a huge boost for the science of vision surgery, and it helped considerably in a very short time to create vision surgery that was both incredibly accurate and successful.
After the excimer laser was invented, Columbia University’s Stephen Trokel began experimenting with it. He used it to practice laser vision correction, starting with animal cadavers, then moving on to human cadavers, before practicing on live rabbits and monkeys. His experimentation showed great promise for the future use of these lasers for vision correction.
In 1988, the first photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) was performed on a 60 year old cancer patient, who volunteered for the surgery before her malignant eye was removed. The surgery was performed successfully by a colleague of Trokel’s, Marguerite McDonald, and by 1991, the procedure was approved in Canada. The United States approved the excimer laser for use in PRK in 1995.
In 1990, two eye doctors in Europe made an enhancement to PRK by creating what was then referred to as “flap and zap”; this was actually the basis for LASIK. Greek eye doctor Ioannis Pillakaris, along with Italian doctor Lucio Burrato developed two separate types of surgery, and gave the procedure its name, Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis(LASIK). The difference with these surgeries was that instead of reshaping the corneal surface, they cut a thin flap with a blade and then zapped the tissue underneath with the laser. The flap was then replaced, much like a natural bandage. This procedure is now called LASIK, and it was approved in the United States in 1999.
Refining Laser Vision Correction
Though LASIK proved consistent and reliable, science continued efforts to make laser vision correction even better, and in 1999, that resulted in wavefront technology. What wavefront does is basically map out a patient’s cornea; these corneal maps are as unique as fingerprints. By using the corneal maps in combination with excimer lasers, doctors get a more precise reshaping of the individual patient’s eyes. The wavefront procedure was approved by the FDA in 2002.Consequently, LASIK became the most popular elective procedure in the United States that same year.
Also in 2002, doctors invented 100 percent bladeless surgery by using a second laser rather than a blade to create a more precise corneal flap. This second type of eye surgery is known as bladeless LASIK or IntraLase. Both LASIK versions are well-documented and proven safe and effective, and our doctors offer both types of vision correction in St. George UT.
Beyond the Surface of the Eye
Both LASIK and PRK work with the cornea, which is the surface of the eye. Ongoing experimentation and research has since led to a couple of intraocular treatments. Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL) are much as they sound; they are quick to place and even less risky than PRK or LASIK. ICL can correct moderate to severe nearsightedness and moderate astigmatism. Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is also called lens replacement surgery; it is frequently a better option for those patients with presbyopia and severe farsightedness. RLE replaces your natural lens with an artificial one to correct refractive errors and help you to focus without glasses or other corrective lenses.
Vision Correction in St. George UT
If you are having problems with your vision, there is probably a lot that a good eye doctor can do to help at this point. Our doctors that do vision correction in St. George UT will do a thorough assessment of your overall health and physical conditions, along with your vision problems.
Following the doctor’s assessment of your condition and after a thorough eye exam, he or she should talk with you and explain what was found during the exam. The doctor should also speak with you about any risks or side effects involved with the vision surgery. These can include undercorrection or overcorrection, dry eyes, halos, glare, astigmatism and possible other complications. While complications are quite rare, they are possible, and it is important that you discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before going ahead with the surgery.
Our doctors will also explain if your health problem may need to be corrected with an additional surgery. Many conditions may heal themselves quite well after a certain period of time. For instance, undercorrection will likely need a second refractive surgery to optimize your vision, as will astigmatism caused by the surgery. On the flip side, overcorrection often corrects itself after a period of healing. Likewise, dry eye, glare and halos often go away after a short period, though they can be annoying during the post-surgery phase.
Following a thorough explanation of your eye’s current condition, your doctor will lay out what he believes is the best course of treatment to cure your vision issues. He will likely discuss each of the different available surgical options, along with any risks involved with each, and what to expect after surgery is completed.
If you are ready to see more clearly, consult one of our doctors that specializes in vision correction in St. George UT and they’ll help you decide which option is best for you.