Author Archives: Nancy Fairbrother

How Long Do the Results of LASIK Last?

Dr. Eric Donnenfeld, our sought-after LASIK surgeon in Long Island, is frequently asked how long the results of LASIK typically last. Before making the investment in laser vision correction, prospective candidates want an idea of whether the effects tend to wear off over time. Dr. Donnenfeld is happy to inform these patients and his blog readers that the results of LASIK are not only life changing but also long lasting. Continue reading

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LASIK: Know the Facts

When researching laser vision correction procedures such as LASIK, it is important to understand both the benefits and the risks of the procedure. With so much information available online, it can be confusing and even scary researching LASIK complications. The good news for those looking into LASIK is the body of clinical research available to reaffirm safety, effectiveness and satisfaction for those who are good candidates. Here is a good article that plainly lays out frequently asked questions and facts about LASIK.


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Can I Have Cataract Surgery If I’ve Had LASIK?

It is certainly possible for patients that had LASIK or PRK to undergo cataract surgery, because the procedures treat different parts of the eye and correct different problems. Dr. Eric Donnenfeld has worked with people that elected to have LASIK in their younger years to correct a refractive error, and then developed cataracts later on in life as part of the natural aging process; he can successfully treat both. Continue reading

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Your Summer Eyes

Summer puts more demand on our eyes and vision than any other time of year. Because the days are longer and the sunshine a little brighter, most find themselves outside soaking up the rays, enjoying water activities and time with friends. You may not realize it, but all of this summer fun make vision correction, such as glasses and contact lenses, a challenge.


Oceans and Lakes and Pools, Oh My!

There is nothing like getting to the shore or pool to beat the heat of summer. Or surfing in the ocean, enjoying water skiing or other boating and water activities in lakes and rivers. But, if you wear contact lenses, you should know they shouldn’t be used in the water because of the risk of bacterial contamination that can lead to sight-threatening infections.


The reality is regardless of your need for vision correction, water poses a real threat to the health of your eyes. Between the chlorine in pools and pollution along the Great South Bay, you will want a pair of well-fitting goggles to help prevent any exposure that can lead to irritation or infection.


Working and Playing with Eye Safety in Mind

Summer is all about the art of spontaneity – a pick-up game here or a tennis game there. But having to think about your vision correction needs can put the brakes on last-minute plans.


Protective eyewear is a must, particularly for sports like baseball, paintball and tennis where the ball can cause significant eye injuries. While prescription sport goggles are available at specialty eyewear centers, if you have good vision or have had a corrective procedure like LASIK, you should pick up a pair at the local sporting goods store.


If your summer plans include tackling some big chores and projects around the house, even if it is just mowing the lawn, be sure to use safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.


Eyes Need Sun Protection, Too

After you’ve slathered on some sunscreen to protect your skin from damaging UV rays, be sure to take the same precaution for your eyes. We know eyes can suffer from sun damage with vision-threatening results. Cataracts and macular degeneration are both linked to long-term sun exposure.


Sunglasses should have 100 percent protection against both UVA and UVB radiation, some labels have UV 400 – which covers both UVA and UVB rays. Just because the lenses are dark, doesn’t mean they offer sun protection. Dark lenses are designed to block visible light, which is great when you are at Long Beach on a bright sunny day, but UV rays are invisible. You want to be sure your sunglasses have the protection your eyes need.


Larger, wrap-around styles are best to ensure your eyes are adequately covered. You want to block any UV light from your eyes (as well as the skin around them). This is particularly true if you’ve had LASIK, you want to protect your investment in great vision. Some contact lenses offer UV blocking technology, but we strongly recommend wearing sun-protecting sunglasses as well. If you know you are going to be out in the sun for a while, put a wide-brimmed hat on for added sun safety.


Packing for Sightseeing

If travel is on the agenda this summer, your vision takes on a whole new meaning. Your eyes take in everything around you – especially if you are visiting a new destination or packing for an adventure of a lifetime.


Add to your packing list the items you need to enjoy the sights:

  • If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you won’t want to be caught without a back-up pair of prescription glasses. This is important in case you lose or break your regular pair or have a problem with your contacts while traveling.
  • Speaking of contacts, be sure to pack extra daily disposable lenses. Whether your travel plans change, your delayed for any reason or a pair gets damaged. Include plenty of solution, drops and an extra sterile case for your extended wear or rigid lenses so you can take great care of your contacts regardless of the water quality of your destination.
  • No matter what your vision correction, don’t forget the sunglasses (see above!)


There are No “Safe” Fireworks

As a final note, don’t be fooled by the labeling. Lighting off fireworks at home in inherently dangerous. Yes, even the seemingly benign sparklers can cause significant harm to the eyes, face and body. There is no need to take such chances with you and your loved ones when there are fantastic fireworks shows everywhere around the Fourth of July. In fact, Astoria Park is starting their celebration on June 29th – take a picnic and make an evening of it. Please protect yourself and your eyesight by leaving the firework displays to the professionals.


We hope you have amazing plans for this Summer and hope you find these tips valuable for making sure your eyes and vision help you make the most of it. If you find your glasses or contacts are getting in the way of your activities, rather than supporting them, we are here to help. Not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK but there might be other laser vision correction procedures that can help you achieve your best vision. Your first step in exploring your options is a thorough evaluation with your eye doctor so we can make the recommendations best suited for your eyes and vision.

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Don’t Ignore Dry Eye Symptoms

Nearly everyone’s eyes have felt dry or itchy at some point, and though it may be uncomfortable, most people brush it off because it doesn’t seem serious. According to eye experts like Dr. Eric Donnenfeld, the opposite is true: if ignored, chronic dry eye symptoms can cause serious complications. The trusted Long Island ophthalmologist explains more here. Continue reading

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Your Eye Health Checklist for This Spring

Your Eye Health Checklist for This Spring

With winter finally over, everyone is getting busy with the activities and chores that reset our homes, lives and bodies for the year ahead.  It feels terrific to get through all the to-dos and start fresh!  This serves as a friendly reminder to include your eye health in the bustle and hustle that comes with spring. Your vision is precious, making it possible to enjoy all the wonder this life-renewing season offers – so make it a priority. To make it easy, we’ve included a few helpful tips and hints:

  • Schedule your annual eye exam. This check-up is vital not only to the health of your eyes and vision, but for your whole body.  There are some conditions that don’t have symptoms at the early stages, but can be detected during a routine eye exam.  Diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration – these can threaten your good vision and all are best managed if caught early.

TIP: At your exam, be sure to tell us about any symptoms you have or have had since your last visit. Also, update us on any medication, prescription or over-the-counter, you are taking.

TIP: If you are thinking about LASIK, your annual exam is a great time to ask questions and get a sense of what is involved. Did you know today’s LASIK can treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism? It is a great vision correction option. Know we value our partnership with you in keep your eyes healthy and your vision at its best.

  • Freshen up your food choices! With the new season comes a fresh crop of fruits and vegetables, so important to eye and vision healthy. Be sure to add these nutrient-packed foods to your diet.
  • Exercise your eyes by taking a break from the long hours in front of a computer screen or smartphone. We like the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes of screen time, look at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.  And, remember to blink to help keep your eyes lubricated and working their best.
  • The sun is out, so it is time for sunglasses. They are the best way to protect your eyes from sun damage, if you choose lenses that offer 100 percent UVA and UVB protection from sun rays.
  • Manage those seasonal allergies. If spring flowers leave you with itchy, watery eyes, particularly if you rely on contact lenses to see well, you need to have a plan in place to help alleviate your symptoms.

TIP: Please don’t touch your eyes while wearing contacts, it can lead to irritation, inflammation and possibly an infection.  If they itch, you may need to take your contacts out for a while – but only with clean hands!

TIP: Try a cold compress on your eyes to help with allergy irritation.

TIP: Talk to us about your allergies at your annual exam. If your contacts are really irritating your eyes, we want to keep your eyes safe and we can help, but only if you come in and we can examine you.  Dealing with allergies is another reason LASIK may be a better option for your vision correction.

Spring is a great time of year as the weather improves and we can spend more time outdoors enjoying life and getting more accomplished.  Ensure you have the vision you want to make the most out of it with this checklist as your guide.

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How To Use Your Tax Refund To Invest In Yourself

Did you know most Americans receive a tax refund?  If you are among the 8 out of 10 expecting a refund this year, you may already have a plan for the money.  Many people take advantage of tax refunds to travel, build their savings, or to improve their overall quality of life. Following are some options you may want to consider.


Invest In Yourself

Investing in yourself is an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often. And investing in crisp, clear vision represents a smart way to spend that extra money while providing perhaps the healthiest return ever.


If you’ve considered LASIK but are worried about the price, the average tax refund of $2,800 can go a long way toward the health of your eyesight. And with LASIK qualifying as a medical expense, some taxpayers are able to achieve a double benefit with a tax deduction.


Improving your vision with LASIK offers several benefits.  Freedom from corrective eyewear, improved athletic performance, and eliminating the ongoing cost of glasses, contacts, solutions and drops are just a few. Today, LASIK is an extremely advanced procedure with the capability to correct a range of vision problems including nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, meaning more people and prescriptions can benefit than ever before.


Best of all, laser vision correction is a decision that can improve your quality of life.  Great vision is a terrific way to invest in yourself and the first step is a visit with a highly-qualified surgeon to determine if you are a candidate.


Pay Off Debt

Buying your financial freedom by using your return to reduce or eliminate high-interest debt can be very satisfying. It can also boost your credit rating and improve your monthly cash flow. Put that refund to work by paying down private student loans, car loans, or credit card debt.  You’ll be making a 13%-20% return on your investment, depending on your current APR. If you have several credit cards, pay down the one with the highest interest rate first.


Splurge On Your family

Many feel they’ve saved all year, and want to use their tax refund toward a vacation the entire family can enjoy.  Studies show that we value memories much more than we value material possessions.  So splurge a little — it can enrich your life and be a welcome reward for paying down debt and other expenses. But act responsibly – don’t use a $500 refund to take a $4,000 all-inclusive family vacation that results in running up additional debt.


It’s not often that we experience a windfall of extra cash, so it’s important to spend that tax return wisely. Whether you decide to pay off high interest debt, splurge on your family, or invest in clearer vision with LASIK, it terrific to have an option to invest in yourself and your quality of life.

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Laser Enhances Accuracy and Precision of Cataract Removal

Traditional cataract surgery is one of the most routine, predictable and safe procedures performed today. However, over the past few years, the best cataract surgeons have started performing the procedure with the help of a femtosecond laser. A femtosecond laser automates several steps of the procedure, further enhancing the predictability, safety and accuracy.

Here, Dr. Eric Donnenfeld explains why he recommends laser-driven surgery to individuals with cataract-related vision loss. Continue reading

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How Parents Can Benefit from LASIK

Parents have enough to worry about — everything from getting meals on the table to potty training to chauffeuring kids around to their activities. One thing they shouldn’t have to worry about is relying on glasses or contact lenses to see clearly.

Laser vision correction with LASIK is designed to give patients freedom from visual aids, which in turn makes everyday life a little easier. Read on to learn why Dr. Eric Donnenfeld feels that parents especially can benefit from LASIK. Continue reading

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What You Need To Know About PROWL

This post originally appeared in the ARSC Insight Blog.

What You Need To Know About the PROWL Studies


What You Need To Know About PROWL

Two new studies published online in the JAMA Ophthalmology shed new and important light on patient experiences after LASIK surgery.

What is PROWL?

The goal of the FDA’s PROWL (Patient Reported Outcomes with LASIK) studies was to validate a new questionnaire that gives patients an accurate and complete way to report their experience with vision and LASIK. The questionnaire – a first – provides a better, more consistent collection the patient’s reporting of visual symptoms, dry eye symptoms, as well as patient satisfaction after LASIK, overall satisfaction with vision, daily functioning and well being.

“The PROWL studies are important,” said American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery President Kerry D. Solomon, M.D. “This is the first scientifically validated patient questionnaire for LASIK and it has a lot of potential. It provides not only an entirely new set of data that we hope will provide more insights on LASIK outcomes for patients, but also a platform for better patient education and, ultimately, more educated decisions about vision correction. With time and use of the questionnaire, surgeons will get accurate and consistent information from the patient’s perspective.”

What was learned and why it matters?

First, the studies acknowledge the body of clinical evidence confirming the safety and effectiveness of LASIK. With that knowledge, the study’s authors wanted to further explore the patient experience with LASIK, including reports of visual and ocular symptoms and satisfaction with vision and LASIK. Their findings suggested that with a valid questionnaire, patients more accurately assess and report symptoms and satisfaction.

In order to test the performance of the questionnaire – validate it from a scientific perspective – two small sample populations of LASIK patients were given the survey of patient reported outcome (PRO) questions.

  1. PROWL-1 was conducted at a military center with 262 active-duty Navy personnel (ages 21-52 years of age).
  2. PROWL-2 had 312 civilian participants (ages 21-57 years of age) located at five private practice and academic centers around the country.

The observational study focused on the functionality of the questionnaire. However, as a result of the LASIK procedures being performed, some additional data was reported:

  • Both groups reported high satisfaction rates, between 96 and 99 percent
  • A small but significant subset of patients – those without symptoms prior to LASIK – experienced new visual symptoms such as glare, halos, or starbursts, or mild, moderate, or severe dry eye symptoms, 3 months after surgery.
  • Overall, the prevalence of visual symptoms and dry eye decreased after having LASIK and improved over time.
  • Through the questionnaire, very few patients reported their symptoms impacted their daily activities or well-being.

Has our understanding of LASIK side effects changed?

From a clinical perspective, absolutely not. LASIK side effects are well-known and understood through a huge volume of research. However, what is significant is that patient reported methods offer an entirely new set of data for clinicians and researchers to tap into. This helps to characterize the experience with LASIK more broadly and, perhaps, more accurately moving forward.

Side effects from LASIK are rare, recent studies suggest fewer than 2 percent of patients undergoing modern LASIK report symptoms. This relatively low percentage of patients experience side effects during the recovery and healing process and these include dry eye and visual symptoms such as glare, halos and starbursts.  Typically, these symptoms resolve with time or, occasionally, with additional treatment. In particular, those patients who choose to have the most advance treatment profiles with the latest technologies have been shown to have higher levels of satisfaction with the procedure.

“As we have said many times before, LASIK is surgery and can produce post-operative effects,” said Dr. Solomon. “Factors such as the patient’s expectations and understanding of LASIK have an important bearing on outcomes. It’s also true that not all people who undergo LASIK are good candidates for the procedure.  The ultimate key to steady improvement in LASIK outcomes is patient education, effective counseling before and after the procedure, and effective screening to make sure that people who undergo LASIK are good candidates.  LASIK is one of many vision correction options, and patients should choose and be guided toward the options that are right for them.”

Importantly, doctors want to thoroughly understand those patients who do experience symptoms and the PRO questionnaire may well represent an important advancement in accurately reporting and characterizing symptoms.

The Questionnaire

The PROWL survey instrument consists of more than 68 questions intended to help patients self-assess and report a range of issues including, satisfaction with current vision, satisfaction with LASIK surgery, and the existence, bothersomeness, and effect on usual activities of visual symptoms including: double images, glare, halos and starbursts. The questionnaire incorporates both written definitions of symptoms and images to help illustrate the symptom and severity levels. The baseline PROWL questionnaire took study participants on average of 20 minutes to complete.

So, what’s the bottom line?

The PROWL study affirms our ongoing commitment to careful, thorough patient counseling about the risks for side effects and symptoms from LASIK. Using validated questionnaires, such as the one created for the PROWL study, is an excellent vehicle for collecting accurate and consistent information from patients. LASIK practices will have access to the PROWL questionnaire (LINK) and should strongly consider incorporating its use as it may allow eye care professionals and patients to make more educated decisions about vision correction. If you are among the thousands of people considering vision correction options, you owe it to yourself and your vision to become as informed as possible about LASIK and other procedures. If you are reading this, you have found the ARSC Insight blog and we encourage you to subscribe.

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