TLC Versus The Eye Center â€“ The Real Difference
I went in for Lasik surgery with Dr Boutros. They collected my money and gave me a valium in the lobby by pouring it out of an envelope, then had me wait awhile – too long as I felt the effects of the valium wear off. Several times they sent me in a room with a different doctor than I’d seen before to do a final check on my eyes. Again, the staff was nice but revolving. Finally, right before the procedure Dr B walks in and starts talking at me with what appeared to be some canned speech he must tell everyone. Honestly, I don’t remember for certain but I don’t think he even looked at my eyes. It was quick and he seemed interested in telling me why he chose the laser he did (which was funny because he said the government chose it for the AF, NASA, etc…I just laughed thinking “great, the government probably chose the lowest bidder and why is he trying to sell me on it now – I’m paid up and ready to walk into surgery when he gets done talking”). Anyway, my point is that it was not a personal conversation. It was him walking in the room 5 minutes prior to surgery and talking at me.
I went home that day and waited for all the numbing drops to fade away thinking my vision would eventually get back to normal. However, I found that about four hours after surgery, my eye had swollen, and the vision had gotten progressively worse. About seven hours after they attempted surgery, my vision in my left eye was gone – all I could see was a milky white light or dark - nothing in-between. And the pain was unbearable! My right eye was fine, only I couldn’t use it because it teared up due to the pain of my left eye. Any time my left eye moved, at all, it was extremely painful. So I basically laid in bed and kept my eyes closed for two days until I could tolerate the pain enough to open my eyes. On the plus side, I lost two pounds. Unfortunately, it was a Friday night when my eye started to lose sight and swell, so I had to wait until the morning to call the doctors to treat it. They gave me an anti-biotic ointment on Saturday which helped, but the intense pain lasted for almost two days. On Monday I could see again, but not clearly in that eye for nearly a week while the cornea healed. Obviously something happened in that operating room that I didn’t know about until I was gone and the numbing drops wore off. It was left untreated for almost 24 hours until I got the ointment.
As embarrassed as I was to go back to Dr Holzman and TLC after going to their competitor and attempting to do a surgery against his advice, that’s exactly what I did – it was the only option I trusted. With my head hung low, I went back to Dr Holzman and explained what happened. Even walking into the lobby of TLC I felt relieved – it’s truly a different (positive) experience there.
I go to TLC for PRK on a Friday with Dr Holzman. They get me in a patient room as soon as I get there and do all of the standard checks prior to surgery. Again, the staff was extremely pleasant and you could tell it was an efficiently planned event. No waiting in the lobby, no waiting in patient rooms all day. From the moment I got there each member of the staff played their role in perfect sync. They had a well planned recovery kit to give me (bag with all the supplies I’d need immediately to help recover including UV sunglasses and UV goggles for sleeping and sports), as well as documented instructions. Like I said, it was efficient, after the instructions and kit were given to me, they checked my eyes to make sure everything was still good, gave me some valium then put the numbing drops in and took me to the operating room. One thing I like immediately about this was that the operating room was not visible to the whole lobby, but it was open for my wife to look in on if I chose to (I did). Apparently, they even have the surgery displayed on a monitor so she could see more easily. The other thing I notice right away is the music. I walk into the operating room and music is playing (not elevator music, but cool music) which definitely helps ease the tension. The assistants helped me get into place. It was easy to relax on the table because of the lack of tension in the room. I think that speaks a lot to the different styles of the two doctors I saw.
Once I’m settled on the table Dr Holzman walks in and asks how I’m doing. He’s also talking with the assistants but I can’t help but notice the lack of tension in the room compared to what I had recently been through. In all, the PRK surgery for both eyes was done in about 15 minutes. It was as advertised, no pain at all. During the not-so-critical parts (i.e. when the laser wasn’t on) Dr Holzman was even talking to me during the procedure. Finally, he says “we’re done” and he removes the eyelid openers and I’m shocked – I can actually see, and it’s clear. I guess with my previous experience at The Eye Center and knowing that I was having PRK, I just didn’t expect to see that well right after surgery. In fact, the next day at my follow-up exam, I was seeing 20/40 and was experiencing zero pain or discomfort. I’m now at day 7 post surgery as I write this and I’ve still not experienced any pain or discomfort.
The costs for both doctors was roughly the same (not different enough that when you’re spending that kind of money on your eyes, that the cost would dictate your choice), yet the service obtained at TLC and by Dr. Holzman was just outstanding. While The Eye Center staff (with exception of the surgeon) was equally pleasant, it really came across like an assembly line feel in comparison.
Great experience! My wife is even considering this now based on my experience. If she does, it will definitely be with you.