Pioneering Vision Correction in Maine
Perfect eyesight for everyone hasn’t happened yet, but doctors at Eyecare Medical Group are doing their best to make it possible, harnessing technology and the latest techniques for correcting vision. Physicians at EMG pioneered laser vision correction in Maine and, today, EMG offers a complete range of advanced options to reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Depending on their vision needs and age, patients can choose from LASIK (the popular laser procedure to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness, as well as astigmatism), CK (which can decrease the need for reading glasses) and even ICLs (implantable contact lenses, one of the newest approaches for better vision). ICLs are an important option for the person with extreme nearsightedness.
"When you visit the office, they walk you through the procedure, show you the surgery center and the equipment and then answer all your questions - whatever they may be," says Rodney Mondor, a LASIK patient.
The ability to find the complete range of vision correction options in a single location, however, is just one of the reasons vision correction patients come to EMG. The personal care patients receive is as important as the new technology, says Rodney Mondor of Portland, a LASIK patient.
“When you visit the office, they walk you through the procedure, show you the surgery center and the equipment and then answer all your questions -- whatever they may be.“ Mondor added that his nerves were put at ease because of the professional, thorough and calming approach that is the standard at EMG. “In the surgery, I couldn’t see, but I could hear three voices supporting me, telling me I was doing great and was almost done. Having those cheerleaders is really important.”
There’s a reason for that human touch, says EMG’s newest surgeon, Jordan Sterrer, MD, who – along with EMG founders William Holt, MD, Elizabeth Serrage, MD and Bruce Cassidy, MD -- specializes in laser vision correction.
"Having had LASIK myself several years ago, I can empathize with patients and answer questions about what it's like on BOTH sides of the laser. At EMG, we never forget there's a live patient with real life needs at the other end of our high tech instruments", said Sterrer.
Those high tech instruments, however, are an important part of the growth in popularity of LASIK and a key reason for the safety and comfort enjoyed by patients today.
“The accuracy of today’s lasers is just astounding,” says Serrage. “Today, we can correct vision deficiencies that just couldn’t have been corrected before. One key advance is the ability to correct astigmatism with LASIK, contrary to the popular belief that having astigmatism rules you out as a LASIK candidate. With the new lasers we have, that’s an old, outdated misconception.”
With the newest generation of lasers, LASIK is quick (usually taking less than 20 minutes for the procedure) and typically involves minimal discomfort. Typical of most LASIK patients, Rodney Mondor experienced immediate results.
“That same night I was watching television without glasses, it was amazing! And the next morning, I went in for my follow-up and then to work, like it was normal” said Mondor. “My vision now is 20/15.”
The advances in vision correction technology – which include more than just LASIK -- have also made the benefits of improved eyesight accessible to more Mainers. Such advances have meant better vision at any age. Although EMG surgeons have very satisfied LASIK patients ranging from age 20 to 70, CK procedures allow better close vision for those who might have needed reading glasses, and ICLs offer new opportunities for those who did not have options before.
With all the options available and with new vision correction techniques emerging at an increasing rate, the doctors at EMG emphasize that the choice of vision correction must match the needs of the patient, and that each patient’s situation is unique. For that reason, the doctors all take the time to ensure that they select the proper treatment for an individual patient’s condition.
“I’d tried several times to have LASIK, but my eyes were too bad for it and I was devastated,” said Mark Dorval, an EMG patient from Cape Elizabeth. “But the doctors really took me under their wings and worked to find a suitable solution. I’d been wearing glasses since third grade and was frustrated with my contacts, but they were patient with me and when the Visian Implantable Contact Lens technology became available, they offered to try it.”
According to Dorval, the procedure was so successful, his entire world changed. “My eyesight has always been the biggest stressor in my life, and now it’s 20/20 and everything is so much easier, better.”
Today, after providing better eyesight to thousands of patients, vision correction specialists Serrage, Holt, Cassidy and Sterrer are continuing the EMG commitment to bringing the best of the ever-evolving vision correction technology and techniques to patients in Maine. And although -- compared to eyeglasses -- the technology might seem to come from far in the future, the focus remains decidedly local and everyday.
“It’s still about the needs of the patient and the difference that improved vision can make in the small details of life each day,” said Cassidy. “Besides, being a Maine native, the opportunity to work with and make that difference for the people of Maine is a real privilege.”