We are happy to announce that February, 2017 marks our 20th consecutive year of operation. In the 1990’s, Dr. Schulze Jr & Sr recognized the need for a venue for affordable, convenient, and high quality surgery for our cataract and refractive surgery patients.
Prior to that time, all eye surgeries were performed in the hospital, and while quality was good, the size and bureaucracy of the hospitals did not lend themselves to efficiency, and costs to the patient were roughly double (and, in some documented cases, up to ten times as high) what was spent on facility fees in the ambulatory surgery center setting. Although Dr. Schulze, Sr. had long wanted to build a surgery center, Georgia state law prevented him from doing so, mainly because the powerful hospital lobby was against any competition for their services. After all, they had a government sponsored monopoly on surgery, and could essentially charge whatever they wanted for their services.
But the laws changed in the mid ’90’s, and Dr. Schulze, Jr and Sr teamed up to build the first outpatient surgery center specializing in eye surgery in coastal Georgia. Construction took place in 1996, and we opened our doors for our first surgeries in 1997. Since that time, we’ve had the opportunity to serve tens of thousands of #cataract and #LASIK patients, saving our patient base millions of dollars in the process as compared to what they would have spent in the hospital setting. More importantly, however, we have been able to provide first class care to an entire generation of patients, and we look forward to carrying on these traditions of quality and innovation for generations to come.
A WaveScan is a computerized device that we use to create a “fingerprint” of your vision prior to having surgery with LASIK or PRK with the AMO/VISX Star S4 IR excimer laser. Although other people may have the same refraction as you, your WaveScan is unique to you. This technology allows us to capture your refraction, including higher order aberrations, and to upload your diagnostic data to the computer that drives the laser. Because the laser has iris recognition technology (called “iris registration” or “IR”), the laser will know the difference between your right and left eye (thus eliminating the possibility of wrong site surgery) and, after locking onto your eye, will deliver a customized treatment in the exact spot where the diagnostic data were acquired.
Carrying on our tradition of innovation in eye surgery, the Schulze Surgery Center was the first center in coastal Georgia to offer this technology. Using the WaveScan together with our AMO/VISX Star S4 IR excimer laser allows us to offer truly customized wavefront guided LASIK and PRK, called CustomVue.
Data submitted to the FDA for CustomVue LASIK found the following:
- 4x as many participants in the low to moderate myopia clinical study were very satisfied with their night vision after the Advanced CustomVue Procedure, compared to their night vision before with glasses or contact lenses
- 4x as many participants in the hyperopia clinical study were very satisfied with their night vision after the Advanced CustomVue Procedure, compared to their night vision before with glasses or contact lenses
- Nearly 2x as many participants in the mixed astigmatism clinical study were very satisfied with their night vision after the Advanced CustomVue Procedure, compared to their night vision before with glasses or contact lenses
- 90% of patients surveyed in the high myopia clinical study were more satisfied, or as satisfied with their vision after the Advanced CustomVue Procedure as they were before with glasses or contact lenses
LASIK is an acronym for “laser assisted in situ keratomileusis.” The procedure uses the excimer laser to reshape the cornea so as to correct your nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. With LASIK, the laser reshapes the cornea underneath a corneal flap (think of the flap as being like a trap door on the surface of the cornea) allowing for quicker healing with less pain. In fact, most of our LASIK patients are back to their normal activities the day after surgery.
Our practice began performing LASIK back in 1997. Not everyone is a candidate for LASIK, but for those who aren’t, we also perform other refractive procedures such as the ICL and Refractive Lens Exchange
A cataract (from the latin word for “waterfall”) is simply a cloudy lens. You can imagine how a cloudy lens would block light that needs to go through your eye in order to see. What we do with #cataract surgery is quite simple: we take out the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear one. For obvious reasons, you see better through a clear lens than you do through a cloudy one.
Here’s where this gets interesting: understand that when we remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear one, we can insert any power lens that we want! Because the techniques for measuring the eye prior to surgery have become so sophisticated, we can now plan our surgery so that nearly all of our patients have less dependence on glasses and contacts, and some patients can even eliminate glasses and contacts entirely.
Take a look at the cataract section on our website here to learn more, and check back for future posts in this blog as we discuss nuances of cataract surgery.
Here’s a little eye surgery trivia for you. This canopy from a British Spitfire fighter plane gave Sir Harold Ridley the idea for the intraocular lens. A fighter pilot in the Second World War was shot down and a fragment of the canopy entered his eye.
Normally, the eye rejects any foreign body with a violent inflammatory immune response. In the case of the fighter pilot, however, the eye remained quiet. Dr Ridley realized he could make clear lenses out of the same material of the canopy and implant these lenses in the eyes of patients who had their natural lens removed with cataract surgery.
Thus was born the intraocular lens (IOL) and, thanks to Dr Ridley’s amazing insight, tens of millions of patients who would otherwise be blind have had their vision restored. Sadly, Dr. Ridley was vilified by the medical establishment during most of his career, and it wasn’t until near the end of his life that his contributions were appreciated.