Ralph S on BBB
2 years ago
04/02/2019, 10:26 AM
I really am shocked at how bad reviews for this company are. I just got both my eyes done last week and am now experiencing what I'm pretty sure is 20/20 vision almost constantly. Apparently the eye continues to heal for quite a while. Fingers crossed.
There are several major points to consider with this company.
1. They make it extremely easy. I was not told any nonsense about my eyes needing additional care that I did not need. I asked for LASIK and was scheduled for a free consultation one week from the my inquiry. I was examined on six separate machines by a succession of people. I tend to ask questions and found out some of these people had no medical qualifications, but others did. I had to make it past three basic exams before I got to more careful exams. All this happens in one appointment. They didn't tell me to come back later for more. I think that's the business model. When I contacted Carolina Eye Associates for PRK, I was told I would need extensive testing that would be very costly, along with what sounded like multiple consultation appointments. This did not appeal to me at all, being a man wise to the world. LVI scheduled my surgery the same week as my consultation. I was amazed at the difference in speed compared to other outfits advertising a more "personal touch."
2. They are inexpensive. I was told they were running a "special" that month. Again, I am a man wise to the world, so I know how "discounts" actually work. But that's beside the point. LASIK is a quick procedure and therefore like anything else it doesn't have to be expensive as long as you can keep your volume up. I was offered $1500 per eye plus $300 per eye for Contoura Vision, which they explain is more precise than the femto procedure. I think they said it corrects to 1/10,000 of a diopter or something. They knocked $200 off because I told them it would be difficult to make an appointment on the day they scheduled me. Can't pass that up. All together I paid $3600. Cheap for a medical miracle if you ask me.
3. They provide plenty of postop exams. They basically do this to tell you how great you are healing and that everything turned out excellently. You don't have to fall for the back patting but the postops do actually serve an important purpose. If there is a serious problem, of course, they can catch it. No, I do not know what sort of problems they might catch. I am not a medical professional, and I do not pretend to understand it all. I went to my day-after postop, and I plan to go to my 2-weeks postop. After that, I'll probably neglect to come back, and schedule a regular checkup with my local optometrist in six months. That seems sufficient.
4. They did not provide me with more than cursory advisories on precautionary measures. The first thing you're going to realize is that you NEED those eye drops. Do not skip doses. The first day for me was quite painful because they didn't tell me I needed to bring those drops to the clinic. That was a long ride home. The pain got pretty terrible. Ended up hitting the ibuprofen pretty hard. The steroids were hard to come byI had to visit 3 pharmacies to find it while in serious pain. Aside from the drops, you'll be told once or twice not to rub. Now, this is a problem because when you are unconscious you WILL rub. I asked them about this and got a shrug. They don't want to talk about it. They do provide a flimsy nighttime visor, but I am the sort who would take it off in my sleep and rub. I asked about this too and got another shrug. As far as I'm concerned, rubbing must be a very serious risk. Probably the single greatest postop risk. I decided on the first night to use 2-inch blue tape to affix the visor to my skull all the way around. This was the right answer. When you can't put in the artificial tears every single hour, your eyes will become inflamed and you will try to rub in your sleep. The blue tape holds it down firmly and my fingers cannot lift the visor. I wake up in the middle of the night now due to discomfort, but that's a small price to pay for proper healing; I put the drops in and the pain vanishes. They also give you some sunglasses. Obviously, do not strain your eyes for 24 hours. On my own initiative, per the cautions on their website, I bought a pair of wraparound safety glasses ($10) from the hardware store to use during my job. You should take the time to read up on these precautions before you undergo because they will only mention things in a way that covers themselves legally. I did not get the impression they cared if I figured it out or ruined my eyes afterward. Frankly, if you don't know to take precautions you deserve what comes your way. These people will not hold your hand. They provide a safe procedure as far as I can tell, and then it is up to you.
Now I'm going to talk about what I consider to be genuine negatives.
Yes, there appears to be a lack of employee satisfaction. I did not see infighting, but I saw a couple of unhappy people. I am good at this, unfortunately, and it left me with the impression that LVI is where some physicians go when they wash up in the eye care industry. I did not get the impression that these people were unprofessional, just miserable and not very good with interpersonal skills or conversation. Something to pay attention to. There is enough help that you do not ever fall to the mercy of one or two disgruntled employees. I do not like that the receptionist has tried to flirt with me at all three of my appointments, but then again she isn't going to shoot high voltage lasers into my eyes. There is definitely some room for improvement here. As long as they drug test their equipment operators, I'm good. In fact, you should ask them about this; it didn't occur to me to ask.
Another negative: I'm almost 100% sure the flap in my right eye came up during the ride home. It sure felt like it did, and I was completely blinded in that eye briefly. I managed to blink it back down. I did not touch it. I put the antibiotics in and put that unpleasant experience out of my mind. I decided to mention this at the first postop, but was met with incredulity. I suspect my eyes became too inflamed and when I put the artificial tears in that was enough to lift the flap. My advice to you is to have the steroids and tears ready to go the minute you leave the OR. Get in your ride and give yourself a dose immediately. It probably would not hurt to take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen just before the surgery, or after. I do not know if this is common, but if your flap comes up do not panic. Do not rub, whatever you do. Reach for the drops, but don't rub. They should have specifically said to BRING the steroids and tears to the clinic on the big day. This was not a major threat to my eyesight because I don't panic easily, but a lot of people I know would have lost their composure if that happened to them. I have no idea if the operator bungled the flap somehow or if they forgot a step, but this should probably never happen. It has been four days now, and the flaps are staying down, so that's over and done with.
If I could give one piece of advice to people about this business, it would be this: Do not treat this company like a medical services provider. This stuff isn't just outpatient, it is considered cosmetic surgery for the purposes of insurance. Or something like that. If you go in expecting excellent patient care or a relationship with a personal physician you have the wrong idea. This is a business. If you treat it like a profit-driven enterprise, nothing will surprise you. Everything negative I have heard about this company stems from this misunderstanding. I guess for some people LASIK is a difficult experience but remember this is 100% elective. I do not know of any condition that calls for a LASIK referral. For me, putting both my eyes under a vaporizing laser at the same time was not sobering. I did it for my law enforcement career. It was a calculated risk. I did exactly as I was told on the operating table, and my eyes turned out fine. If you go in with a little bravery everything will be fine. Too many people complain about LVI because they want more personal care. There are places you can go for that, just not here.