Doctors of Vance Thompson Vision Featured on KSFY
August is cataract awareness month and the good folks at KSFY stopped by our new clinic and surgery center to hear about the newest advances in cataract surgery technology.
YOUR INVESTMENT IN LASIK CAN PAY YOU BACK
No doubt about it, LASIK is costly. Many people are put off by the cost. But, here's something to think about: LASIK might actually save you money in the long run.
Sound strange? Think about what your eyeglasses or contact lenses cost you. Then consider these facts from the American Refractive Surgery Council:
- If your contacts cost at least $70 a box, a six-month supply will cost $280.
- If you pay for vision insurance, it may only cost you $10 a month, but that's only worth it if you get money back on contacts or glasses. Regular checkups are usually free after LASIK surgery.
- If you get a new pair of glasses every year, they could cost you $150 a pair or more. If you need more than one (distance and reading), that could be $300.
- Contact lens supplies also add up - over 10 years, the expense of contact lens maintenance can be over the cost of the LASIK procedure.
In other words, there's an upfront cost for LASIK, but, in future years, some of that investment will come back to you because you'll be out from under the cost of glasses or contacts.
Fine, you say -- but how do you pay that upfront cost? Come in and let's talk about it. We can help you figure out how to pay for LASIK, with options that include financing through a healthcare financing company, directly through our practice or by using a flexibile spending account. Some financing plans give you up to five years to pay.
The IRS considers LASIK to be a tax-deductible medical expense and while your medical expenditures may have to exceed a certain percentage of your income, the procedure may help you reach that amount.
So, don't let financial consideration keep you from investing in LASIK and enhancing your quality of life. LASIK can deliver great vision, great convenience -- and lower annual costs.
To learn more, contact us or visit the American Refractive Surgery Council at www.americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org.
LASIK FOR PILOTS
Many of my patients are pilots, and they tell me that flying an airplane is a wonderful experience. If you’re a pilot – whether you fly for a living in the airlines or the military, or for pleasure in your own or a rented airplane – you have a sense of fulfillment and a perspective on the world that non-pilots can only dream about.
Wouldn’t you want that perspective to be as clear as possible? Clear vision can enhance your flying pleasure and precision – and keep you safer as well. LASIK is one way that many pilots chose to make sure their eyesight is as sharp as possible, that it meets or exceeds license requirements, and that good eyesight is always available, not subject to disruption if you have problems with your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
In fact, the benefits of LASIK in aviation are so well known that the military relies on it for its best aviators and other specialized personnel. The Navy offers LASIK to pilots and SEAL commandos. The Air Force has recently expanded its LASIK program to include a wide variety of pilots and aircrew. And NASA allows LASIK for members of the astronaut corps.
If you don’t want to take my word for it – or the military’s or NASA’s – have a look at [this advisory] by the American Refractive Surgery Council. In it, Dr. Steve Schallhorn describes the advantages of LASIK for pilots:
For amateur and professional pilots, good eyesight can be a matter of life and death. Whether it's spotting other traffic in a busy pattern, detecting runway hazards on final approach, or reading charts and electronic flight instruments, and the quality of your vision is a big part of the margin of safety.
Using the lastest LASIK technology, it's possible to safely correct vision with a high degree of precision. At the same time, it can eliminate aviator concerns about glasses being dislodged during turbulence, or contact lenses causing irritation or problems with glare. In an emergency there's more than enough for a pilot to deal with. Anything that reduces the task list helps keep you safer, and LASIK can do that while providing excellent vision, which in itself enhances safety.
Dr. Schallhorn should know. In addition to being a noted LASIK surgeon, he’s a former U.S. Navy F-14 Top Gun pilot, and founded the Department of Defense refractive surgery program.
Online resources can help you research the risks and benefits of LASIK and find out if you’re a good candidate. A place to start is the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aviation Medicine Advisory Service (AMAS) website, which provides extensive guidance, including a downloadable booklet entitled “Information for Pilots considering laser eye surgery” (www.faa.gov/pilots/safety/pilotsafetybrochures/media/lasereye_ii.pdf) . The American Optometric Association offers detailed information, and the American Refractive Surgery Council offers a wide range of information and advice. Visit www.americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org.
Of course, we’d be happy to talk with you and help you decide if LASIK is right for you – in the air or on the ground.
USING YOUR FSA ACCOUNT FOR LASIK
You have probably seen recent news reports about upcoming limits on Flexible Spending Account plans which may have you wondering: Can I still use my FSA to help pay for LASIK with pre-tax dollars? The answer is yes, but there are a few things you should be aware of both for 2012 and the changes that go into effect in 2013.
- Importantly -- FSAs have "use it or lose it" policies, meaning you need to use the amount set aside in your FSA for eligible medical expenses by the end of the year. If you don't, you lose the money left in the account. HOWEVER, your specific plan may have a short grace period - which we'll talk about shortly.
- A new Federal law puts a cap on the amount you can set aside each year in an FSA - the new limit is $2,500 and it goes into effect January 1, 2013. So, if you wait to have LASIK until 2013, it is likely that you won't be able to fully finance your LASIK procedure with your FSA funds.
- BUT, if you and your spouse both have FSA benefits, you can each put aside $2,500. The family can then access $5,000 - about the cost of LASIK using the most advanced technologies.
- Check with your benefits manager to see if there is a "grace period" in your plan that gives you a short period of time at the beginning of the year that allows you to access the previous year's FSA funds PLUS the current year's contributions - which would effectively allow you to substantially increase the amount of pre-tax dollars you can access for your procedure.
Finally, knowing if you are a good candidate for LASIK or other vision correction procedure should be your first step – one that you can take for FREE with a consultation with Vance Thompson Vision. Getting the facts and planning ahead is the best foundation for success both for vision correction and financing. We are here to help with both!
MORE BENEFIT WITH ADVANCES IN LASIK
Millions of people have benefitted from LASIK. But there have always been some who couldn’t benefit. The surgery was once off-limits to people with thin corneas, dry eye and prescriptions in higher ranges. Now, however, thanks to advances in technology and technique, more people who were once ineligible can enjoy the excellent vision – and the freedom from eyeglasses and contact lenses – that LASIK provides.
Improved tools, such as new, more precise lasers and more advanced techniques, mean that we now have better outcomes than ever before and can perform LASIK on many people who once were not candidates. While there are still people whose medical conditions and vision issues make them poor candidates for LASIK, that population is shrinking due to improved technologies and therapies.
Among the recent improvements in LASIK are:
- Next-generation excimer lasers that can address a broader spectrum of prescriptions than early generations. The result is that a wider range of vision correction can be achieved with LASIK. Today's LASIK technologies, as opposed to first-generation lasers, can benefit those patients with more extreme vision prescriptions.
- Femotosecond laser technology, a very precise system that allows some patients with thin corneas to take advantage of LASIK. The precision of the femtosecond laser for flap creation makes it possible to create very thin flaps. Thinner flaps also reduce the incident of dry eye post-LASIK, making it appealing to those patients with a tendancy for preoperative dry eye.
- Wavefront technology that creates a microscopically-detailed map of the eye. This personalized, high-definition measurement is unique to the patient and details minute irregularities on the surface of the cornea that contribute to quality vision. This "surface map" guides the excimer laser, making optimized and customized corrections possible and increasing the percentage of patients seeing 20/20 and better.
- Advanced diagnostic equipment that allows clinicians to evaluate both the front and the back surface of the cornea and improve results.
If you have been considering LASIK - or if you have been disqualified in the past - it's worthwhile to consult with us, or with your own LASIK surgeon, to see if you are among the growing group who may now benefit.
CAN LASIK TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE?
People who come to see me when they’re thinking about LASIK have many questions. They want to know what they’ll experience on the day of the procedure. They want to know how their eyesight will change. They want to know about costs.
But often, behind all those questions is a single one – people want to know, will LASIK transform my life?
In many ways, the answer is yes. LASIK can improve your vision and allow you to pursue activities you couldn’t before. It can liberate you from – or reduce your dependence on – eyeglasses and contacts, and allow you to pursue active lifestyles where glasses or contacts are problematic.
But as with any medical technology, there are limits to what LASIK can do. Knowing the limitations, finding the right surgeon and having realistic expectations are often the key to a happy LASIK experience.
Here are some important LASIK facts to consider:
- LASIK can improve your vision - sometimes even more than glasses or contact lenses can. The advantage of LASIK is that you're correcting the shape of the cornea itself. With glasses or contacts, you're compensating for the cornea by putting another lens in front of it. That's not as exact. LASIK allows us to do more precise corrections, and that translates into better vision.
- LASIK can free you from the inconvenience of glasses or contacts. Eyeglasses fog and get smudged - they have to be cleaned regularly and they often interfere with an active lifestyle. Contacts can cause irritation and require cleaning and disinfection. With LASIK there are no appliances - we've corrected the eye itself, so there's no hardware to maintain.
- LASIK can allow you to pursue an active lifestyle. There are activities where glasses or contacts are an inconvenience or even a barrier. Many people who choose LASIK are athletes or enjoy the outdoors. Swimming, running, skiing, baseball or other sports can be difficult or impossible for people who wear eyeglasses or contacts. With LASIK, people can enjoy them freely - without the hassle or risk of eyewear.
- LASIK can open up new career possibilities. There are some high-impact, high-risk careers that can be more difficult to pursue if you wear glasses or contacts. Laser vision correction has opened the door for many to pursue careers of their dreams - from NASA and the U.S. Military to firemen and police officers.
- LASIK can't promise permanent results for all patients. Eventually, you may need reading glasses. Even if you've had LASIK, your eyes may continue to change over time as it ages, and your vision will change. If you have LASIK when you're young, for example, it's possible that someday when you're older, you'll need reading glasses. LASIK can improve your vision, but it can't keep your eye from aging.
- LASIK is surgery and there is a recovery period. LASIK is surgery, and as with any surgery, there is a recovery process. While most people see better immediately after LASIK, in the first few weeks, people can experience dry eye, glare and halos. These typically resolve on their own or with additional treatment.
- LASIK isn't risk-free. All surgery carries risk, and LASIK is no exception. If you're considering LASIK, you should talk with your surgeon about the risks so you can make a fully informed decision about whether LASIK is right for you.
- LASIK isn't for everyone. Unfortunately, some people are not good candidates for LASIK. If your corneas are too thin or irregular, or if you have eye diseases like glaucoma, or autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, you may not be abel to benefit from LASIK.
With LASIK, as wtih any surgery, it helps to have realistic expectations. If you're considering LASIK, it's important to do your homework. Visit the ARSC website at www.AmericanRefractiveSurgeryCouncil.org along with other resources such as EyeSurgeryEducation.org. Talk to people you know who've had LASIK. And, most important, come in and speak with us - or if you're located elsewhere, speak with your own surgeon. Make sure you understand the limitations of LASIK and also its many dramatic benefits. You'll be more a satisfied LASIK patient as a result.
Vance Thompson Vision Welcomes Dr. Justin Schweitzer
Everyone here at Vance Thompson Vision is delighted to announce that Dr. Justin Schweitzer has joined our work family here in Sioux Falls.
New location planned for Vance Thompson Vision
A great article about our expansion and what it means for the quality of care our patients receive in our Sioux Falls, South Dakota office.
Vance Thompson Vision featured in Sioux Falls Business Journal
Read about our exciting project in this cover article by Jodi Schwan of the Sioux Falls Business Journal.
Newest procedure: Laser cataract surgery
Our revolutionary ReLACSTM vision correction procedure was recently published in the Sioux Falls Business Journal.
Dr. John Berdahl to participate in Augustana Thought Leader Forum
Dr. Berdahl will be giving a talk entitled, "Eliminating Blindness in our World" on October 14th at 11:00 am, at CJ Callaway's. For more information vist Augustana College's website.
Dr. John Berdahl featured in Argus Leader for Innovative Permanent Contact Lens Procedure
It's all in the eyeball.
That's where Dr. John Berdahl does his best work. He's part of a team of Sioux Falls surgeons who use a growing assortment of procedures to help patients regain the sharp vision they one enjoyed. Click here for full story.
Dr. Alison Tendler begins in her Second Campaign for Restasis®
Recently, a new commercial for Restasis® featuring Dr. Alison Tendler began airing on televisions across the nation. To watch the new commercial, click here.
In 2008, Dr. Alison Tendler gained national exposure as the spokesperson for Restasis®, the only prescription therapy indicated to increase tear production in patients with Chronic Dry Eye. Read the first story...
Watch KELO on Friday, August 27th as Kelli Grant interviews Dr. Alison Tendler about the journey of being in the national spotlight. To read the transcript, click here. To view the video, click here.
Very common drug poses risk in most common surgery
Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS): The Link Between FLOMAX and Cataract Surgery Complications
Cataract Surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the United States. As patients' age, one of their chief concerns is the interaction of the medications they take. Fortunately, in Ophthalmology there are very few dry interactions that concern medical professionals. more...
Visionary Leader: Alum One of World's Best in Advanced Cataract and Laser Vision Correction
(By Pat Mack)
As an undergraduate at The University of South Dakota in the early 1980s, Vance Thompson knew he was expected to continue the tradition. His father was a family doctor. His grandfather was not only a family physician he also was part of the first class in the history of the medical school. more...
Sioux Falls-Based Vance Thompson Vision to Lead U.S. Clinical Trial Procedure for Aging Eyes
Sioux Falls, SD - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a U.S. Clinical Trial to test the effectiveness of the AcuFocus ACI 7000 Inlay. The inlay is intended to improve near vision in patients with presbyopia for reading without glasses. Qualified participants will receive this investigational procedure at no charge. more...
KELO: Gift of Sight Recipients Chosen
Sioux Falls, SD - It wasn't easy, but after reading through hundreds of letters, the staff at Vance Thompson Vision chose four people to receive the gift of sight.
This is the second year Vance Thompson Vision has asked for nominations to give four people laser vision correction surgery. more...
KELO: Vance Thompson Vision Gives Back
Sioux Falls, SD - The nominations are in and staff at Vance Thompson Vision are well on their way to granting another gift of sight.
For the second year in a row, staff at Vance Thompson Vision will grant four wishes this year. more...
KDLT: New Eye Procedure
Are you tired of those reading glasses you have throughout your house and car. Reading up close isn't a problem anymore for Deb Velazquez. But it wasn't too long ago when answering a cell phone or reading a book was a daunting task. more...
Give the Gift of Sight
New program at Vance Thompson Vision could be the most life-changing gift given this year.
Sioux Falls - Vance Thompson Vision is proud to announce the establishment of Gift of Sight, a New Year’s event that hopes to enhance the vision of neighbors among us who need it the most. more...
KELOLand.com: Gift of Sight Announcement
Do you know someone that is deserving of laser vision correction surgery? One Sioux Falls medical practice is helping you make someone's dream come true.
Last year, doctors and staff at Vance Thompson Vision read through nearly 200 letters written by friends and family nominating a deserving person for the Gift Of Sight. Four people were chosen to receive laser vision correction for free. more...
NEW OPTIONS FOR READING GLASSES, LEARN IF YOU QUALIFY
Sioux Falls, SD - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a U.S. Clinical Trial to test the effectiveness of the AcuFocus ACI 7000 Inlay. The inlay is intended to improve new vision in patients with presbyopia ("aging eyes") for reading without glasses. Qualified participants will receive this investigational procedure at no charge.
Some of the first procedures in the United States have been performed at Vance Thompson Vision. more...
HD Lens Restores Vision
If we live long enough, we'll all most likely get cataracts. This clouding of the lens behind the pupil can only be corrected through surgery. And new lens implants are giving many patients a whole new outlook on life.
It's called Crystalens HD and it can give patients in their 50s, 60, even 70s the vision they had when they were 30-years-old or even younger. Before we all turn 40, the lens of our eye is flexible, allowing our vision to focus. more...
Gift of Sight Follow up Story: Tiffany Aue
You may recall last December when [KeloLand] HealthBeat helped announce an amazing gift by a Sioux Falls ophthalmology practice. The doctors and staff involved wanted to donate free laser vision correction as their way of giving back.
After spending hours reviewing nearly two hundred letters from all across KELOLAND, Dr. Vance Thompson and Dr. Alison Tendler and their staff at Sanford Vance Thompson Vision clinic have finally come up with four people who have been chosen to receive a Gift of Sight. more...
BUSINESS BUZZ: Sioux Falls doctor in national commercial.
Dr. Alison Tendler says with a laugh that she’s never acted, not even in a school play.
Despite her lack of stage experience, the Sioux Falls ophthalmologist is featured prominently in a new national TV and print advertising campaign.more...
National Exposure for Dr. Alison Tendler
You've probably heard the phrase, "I'm not a doctor, I just play one on TV." But a new national advertising campaign is about to turn the tables on that phrase by putting a local eye doctor on TV.more...
Give the Gift of Sight
Vance Thompson Vision is proud to announce the establishment of Gift of Sight, a New Year's event that hopes to enhance the vision of neighbors among us who need it the most. more...
Seeing the Big "E"
Laser vision correction is often an option for patients who are considering refractive surgery to improve their vision. more...
NASA Approves Advanced LASIK for Use on Astronauts
Advanced Medical Optics, Inc (AMO) (NYSE: EYE), a global leader in ophthalmic surgical devices and eye care products, today announced that the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) has approved the company's LASIK technologies for use on U.S. astronauts. more...
The LASIK procedure is the right answer for most patients who are considering refractive surgery to improve their vision. However, in patients with higher degrees of nearsightedness or farsightedness, the cornea may be too thin to allow full refractive correction.
In these cases, surgical implants may be the best alternative. These special devices are placed in the eyes to improve their focusing ability.