How to Find the Best Laser Vision Centers, Vision Correction & Corrective Eye Surgeons Sonoma County, CA
The field of corrective laser eye surgery has made great strides of late. Ophthalmologists performing refractive eye surgery, including LASEK, LASIK and PRK can restore nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism to 20/20 vision. The following research by The Prime Buyer's Report identifies the best laser vision centers in Sonoma County and issues related to LASIK surgery and other vision correction techniques.
Updated December 18, 2016
How to Find the Best Laser Vision Centers, Vision Correction & Corrective Eye Surgeons Sonoma County, CA
Laser eye centers in Sonoma County CA must be licensed by the Medical Board of California as protection for consumers. But it is not a license for eye surgery or vision correction specifically, making it all the more critical that the eye surgeon you go to has proven expertise in the specialty of laser eye surgery.
They are not required by law to have malpractice insurance; however, all lasik eye centers bearing The Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 symbol have that malpractice insurance coverage for your protection, in addition to passing all other requirements for certification as Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 such as our survey phone calls to their previous patients to verify high satisfaction, verified license, time in business, clean complaint record, and more.
Lasik in Sonoma County CA
Refractive eye surgery using lasers (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) to correct vision problems began in the 1980s, although not in the United States. It wasn't until 1995 that the FDA approved of the technique for doctors in this country. The original procedure, which is still offered today, was known as PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy. PRK uses an excimer laser (a type of laser that can remove extremely fine layers of biological material on a cornea without heat or damaging the tissue left behind) to gently and quickly reshape the cornea, improving the eye's ability to focus.
Another early technique to treat myopia (nearsightedness) was radial keratotomy, or RK, in which the surgeon made small incisions, like pie slices, in the cornea to allow it to spread and flatten, improving vision. Later, more advanced techniques of refractive eye surgery were developed including LASIK (laser assisted in situ keratomileusis, which involve slicing a small flap in the cornea to fold it back and reshape (with a laser) the underlying tissue, then carefully replacing the flap for typically quick healing), and LASEK (laser assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy, in which the corneal surface is loosened and treated with a laser to reshape the cornea, somewhat like PRK).
People that are nearsighted (myopia), farsighted (hyperopia) or have astigmatisms (an irregularly shaped cornea) are often good candidates for LASIK surgery or LASEK surgery, although that can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. For most, returning the eyesight to perfect 20/20 vision is quite possible and often done successfully. Others may still require corrective lenses but with a much lighter prescription.
Typically, laser eye surgery takes place while the patient is awake, using a local anesthetic to numb the eye. The patient can leave the office shortly after the procedure, usually with immediate improvement in eyesight. While these laser eye surgery procedures are simple, painless and quick, there are some risks, including dry eyes, halos when looking at lights, double vision, difficulty seeing in low light situations and actual vision loss. However, the more severe of these possible laser eye surgery side effects are rare. Be sure to ask your laser eye surgeon about these side effects and what you can do to lessen the chances of them occurring.
Some people are not good candidates for laser eye surgery. For example, some occupations prohibit their employees undergoing the procedure. It can be expensive and is considered by many insurance companies to be elective surgery and therefore not covered. If you have an autoimmune disease or other major illness, that may preclude you from being a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery or other types of laser vision correction.
Other types of eye problems can also be a consideration. Steroids or other drugs that inhibit healing can disqualify you from laser eye surgery. Those with unusually strong glasses prescriptions and those whose prescriptions have changed recently may not be the best candidates for the surgery, along with those with extra-large pupils or thin corneas and dry-eye conditions. Your laser eye surgeon or Sonoma County eye care center can tell you more about these considerations.
Cornea Transplants in Sonoma County CA
Some lasik correction surgeons in Sonoma County CA also perform cornea transplants. The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped surface of your eye that accounts for a large part of your eye's focusing power. A cornea transplant, also called keratoplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace part of your cornea with corneal tissue from a donor.
There are different types of cornea transplants. One is the traditional full thickness cornea transplant also referred to as penetrating keratoplasty (PK). Another is endothelial keratoplasty (EK)
During traditional corneal transplant surgery, or penetrating keratoplasty (PK), a circular button-shaped, full-thickness section of tissue is removed from the diseased or injured cornea using either a surgical cutting instrument called a trephine or a femtosecond laser.
During endothelial keratoplasty (EK) only the endothelim, the innermost layer of the cornea, is replaced, leaving overlying healthy corneal tissue intact. The cornea transplant surgeon makes a tiny incision and places a thin disc of donor tissue on the back surface of the cornea.
Once an eye doctor and you determine cornea transplant is desired, your name is registered with a local eye bank and it might require a wait of a few days to a few weeks for suitable tissue from a donor eye to become available. The donor cornea is screened for HIV and hepatitis as required by the standards of the Eye Bank Association of America and the regulations of the FDA. The donor cornea is also checked for clarity before being approved for cornea transplant surgery.
Cornea transplant surgery usdually takes no more than an hour or two and you can go home shortly after the procedure. Total recovery time can be up to a year, and it's possible vision will be blurry for the first months until the eye adjusts to the new cornea.
Some Laser Vision Centers in Sonoma County Are Better Than Others
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these LASIK vision centers in Sonoma County: Kaiser Permanente Laser Vision Santa Rosa CA, LaserVue Eye Center Santa Rosa CA, Rohnert Park Vision Center Rohnert Park CA, Eye Care Institute Santa Rosa CA, Advanced Eyecare Santa Rosa CA. Other laser eye surgeons in Santa Rosa CA that might still be in business include: Pacific Laser Eye Center Santa Rosa CA.
Choosing the Best Laser Vision Center and Corrective Eye Surgeon For You in Sonoma County
When speaking to laser vision centers for lasik in Sonoma County CA, ask these questions of their experience, methods, and equipment:
Know What You're Looking For in a LASIK Surgery Center
Before you decide if a particular laser vision center or corrective eye surgeon is right for you, it's best to have some idea of what you're asking for, and why. Obviously, if you are seeking laser eye surgery, you have a vision problem and improving your vision is your goal. But, beyond that, there are other considerations such as health risks, laser eye surgeon experience and the possibility that another corrective eye solution would better serve you. Despite its miraculous results, laser eye surgery isn't always the best solution for all vision problems.
When you begin talking to laser vision centers in Sonoma County CA, use the following list of questions as a guideline:
• How long have the eye doctors been performing laser eye surgery in Sonoma County?
• How many LASIK eye surgeries have the laser vision correction doctors performed?
• Have the laser vision correction clinics had patients with your exact eye situation before?
• Does the laser vision center offer LASIK eye surgery, LASEC eye correction or PRK eye surgery?
• How will the laser eye surgeon decide which vision correction surgery is right for you?
• What is your success rate for laser vision correction?
• How long before the initial consultation or LASIK eye surgery should you remove your contact lenses?
• Will the laser vision correction consultation fee be applied to the eye surgery cost?
• Does the eye surgery cost include follow-up enhancements down the road to further improve your vision?
• If so, what is the time limit for the follow up eye surgery?
• Will you need reading glasses after your LASIK eye surgery?
• Is the laser equipment the laser eye surgery centers use FDA approved?
• Do the laser vision correction specialists perform regular maintenance on the laser equipment?
• Is there anything that makes you a less than an ideal candidate for laser eye surgery?
Often, before the laser eye surgery, patients are required to sign a disclaimer of sorts which lists the risks of the laser eye surgery. This document is not tailored to your particular situation or designed to give you advice; it is intended to protect the doctor by providing informed consent with a generic list of possible risks. It's not a bad idea to ask questions of your own and write down those questions, along with the answers, on the consent form. This may offer you some protection if you are given wrong or bad information before your laser eye surgery.
It's very important that you work with a vision center and corrective eye surgeon with whom you are comfortable and that you trust. From the first phone call, to the initial consultation with the laser eye surgery doctor, be aware of how you are treated. Did the staff and doctor of the vision correction center seem interested, open and patient? Were they forthcoming with answers to your questions, or did they adopt a don't-ask-questions, trust-us-we-know-what-we're-doing attitude.
First Impression of Laser Eye Surgery Centers in Sonoma County CA
Good laser vision professionals will listen carefully to what you're saying and asking and will ask great questions in return. That first impression may very well set the tone for your entire experience with the laser vision correction center or the eye doctor, so pay attention to the tone of the conversation. You are not obligated to hire a particular surgeon even after your initial consultation. If it doesn't feel right, for any reason, move on and find another eye surgeon to perform your LASIK eye surgery.
Throughout the process, from the initial call to the operation itself, you will surely have questions. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor or the vision center staff if you have any questions or concerns.
Tips About Laser Vision Centers, Vision Correction and Corrective Eye Surgeons in Santa Rosa
Know What You Hope to Accomplish with Laser Eye Surgery.
Laser eye surgery can accomplish different things for different people. It helps if you know exactly what you're hoping to gain from the eye surgery. Do you want better long-range vision? Up-close vision? Is one eye more affected than the other? Are you hoping to end up with perfect vision in both eyes? Are you considering surgery in order to pursue some activity that your current vision won't allow?
Write Down Your Laser Eye Surgery Questions and Goals.
Think about the above questions regarding Lasik eye surgery and write down your thoughts. Write down your hopes, your concerns, your fears and questions. This way you can present each corrective eye surgeon with the same list of considerations, and judge each from their responses to the same things and get a sense of their listening skills, and their willingness to entertain your concerns. This is a chance to get to know your prospective vision correction surgeon—seize the opportunity.
Get Several Separate Opinions From Several Corrective Eye Surgeons in Sonoma County.
Surgeons, like anyone, will approach problems in different ways and with different attitudes. Prices can vary and their opinions regarding your appropriateness as a laser vision correction surgical candidate may vary as well. Speaking to several eye surgeons will give you a better sense of your condition and whether or not you should proceed.
Choose Experienced Sonoma County Corrective Eye Surgeons.
Experience means a lot in the world of corrective eye surgery. You'll want to choose an eye surgeon who has done many laser eye surgery procedures similar to the one you are seeking. An eye doctor or laser surgeon with a wealth of experience will have a better idea of how to proceed with your case, and have better knowledge of what to do if something comes up during the surgery. The surgeon should be willing to give you a list of past clients on whom she or he performed similar LASIK or LASEK eye surgeries as referrals.
Know Your Rights as an Eye Care Center Patient.
Even if your laser vision correction surgery doesn't go as planned and there's a problem, it can be difficult to know whether or not an eye surgeon has acted negligently or recklessly. There are resources available if you feel you need to lodge a complaint or report. Reference the California Department of Consumer Affairs. See our article, "Key Consumer Resources for Laser Vision Centers, Vision Correction and Corrective Eye Surgeons in Sonoma County" to learn more.
Resources About Laser Vision Centers, Vision Correction and Corrective Eye Surgeons in Sonoma County
Associations & Licensing for Laser Eye Surgery and Laser Vision Correction Centers
BBB Better Business Bureau www.bbb.com
LASIK Eye Surgery FDA site www.fda.gov/cdrh/lasik
All About Vision LASEK site www.allaboutvision.com/visionsurgery/lasek.htm
All About Vision PRK site: www.allaboutvision.com/visionsurgery/prk.htm
American Academy of Ophthalmology www.aao.org
American Board of Ophthalmology www.abop.org/index1.asp
American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery www.ascrs.org
The American Medical Association www.ama-assn.org
California State Department of Consumer Affairs www.dca.ca.gov
Diamond Certified www.diamondcertified.org
California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons www.californiaeyemds.org
The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the best laser vision centers and corrective eye surgeons in Sonoma County CA within the following zip codes:
95403, 95404, 95430, 95406, 94952, 95472, 95452, 95401, 94927, 95402, 95425, 95450, 95409, 95407, 95419, 95471, 95412, 95436, 95448, 94999, 95416, 94975, 95487, 95441, 94931, 95446, 94954, 95492, 94955, 95497, 95476, 94928, 95444, 94951, 94972, 94953, 95486, 95421, 95465, 95480, 95431, 95473, 94923, 95442, 95462, 95405, 95433, 95408, 94922 and 95439
The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the top 10 laser surgeons and corrective vision centers in Sonoma County CA within the following cities:
Agua Caliente, Alexander Valley, Annapolis, Asti, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, Bodega, Bodega Bay, Cazadero, Cloverdale, Cotati, Fallon, Forestville, Fort Ross, Freestone, Fulton, Geyserville, Glen Ellen, Graton, Guerneville, Guernewood, Healdsburg, Jenner, Kenwood, Lakeville, Larkfield, Monte Rio, Occidental, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Roseland, Russian River, Russian River Mdws, Salmon Creek, Santa Rosa, Schellville, Sebastopol, Sonoma, Stewarts Point Rancheria, The Geysers, Valley Ford, Windsor, Boyes Hot Springs, Camp Meeker, Duncans Mills, El Verano, Eldridge, Fetters Hot Springs, Rio Nido, Sheridan, The Sea Ranch, Villa Grande, Vineburg, Lytton, Mark West, Temelec and Two Rock