I remember when radial keratotomy surgery became popular in the late ‘80s.
It was something mysterious to most us, like an urban legend. I had heard of people getting the surgery but I didn’t actually know anyone. In the late ‘90s when Lasik eye surgery came on the scene, it was nothing less than a miracle. Friends who were almost blind could see without glasses.
I was always skeptical of the dangers of eye surgery, so I opted to help my eyes through eye exercises. For two years I enjoyed almost perfect 20/20 vision but then I went through a life crisis, the exercises stopped and my nearsightedness came back. This made me curious about what type of eye care choices we have in Michigan and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found out.
Turns out glasses are here to say. They can be used both as an economic statement and as a face accessory, not unlike earrings and makeup. A lot of people like the personality changes and freedom that comes from wearing different glasses on different days for different moods.
I’ve watched Dr. Joseph Ales’ unique eyewear store, Optik in Birmingham, blossom over the last few years. The optometrist’s store offers a retail assortment of vintage-esque, boutique-styled glasses from all over the world that perk interest and give character. And without the outlandish branding popular at the turn of the millennium, when the label meant more than what the glasses looked like on your face.
I stopped in at Optik for a fun afternoon of trying on a myriad of types and shapes of metallic and acrylic glasses, finally settling on a magenta pink metallic pair affectionately named Fairy.
I also was curious about a new, advanced procedure widely considered the next step in Lasik surgery, called SMILE. Dr. Daniel Haddad of the Laser Eye Institute of Troy brought this amazing technology to Michigan, so I decided to check it out.
Haddad is the Lasik pioneer of Michigan and much of his research was used to improve Lasik eye surgery to what it is today. A cultured artist and supporter of the Detroit music movement, Haddad’s office feels like a satellite of the Guggenheim museum. I was surprised that this state of the art facility gave me a feeling of peacefulness and awe. I sat down with the doctor as he explained how SMILE works.
“The SMILE procedure eliminates the cutting of the cornea by making a flap, as in traditional Lasik surgery, thereby decreasing side-effects such as dry eye, and also increases the safety,” said Haddad, showing me the new equipment with a proud grin, like a father showing off his baby. “I knew the SMILE procedure was the future. This is why I trained rigorously on it and bought it, even while it was going through the FDA approval process.” Patients can enjoy perfect eyesight in less time with fewer potential issues, he added.
The SMILE procedure adds a few days to recovery time, but Haddad said the trade-off is worth it. I had a chance to take a look at the high-tech laser machines Haddad uses and went through a general eye exam there.
After spending most of my day with the Laser Eye Institute family, I felt thoroughly educated and excited about possibly being a candidate myself.
I hope you also have a chance to check out some of the new choices we have in eye health in Michigan. Subscribe to us at the Michigan Health Star Youtube channel and website for updates.