Eye surgery office focuses on laser procedures

ribbon-cutting

A physician group that specializes exclusively in high-tech laser vision correction recently opened its first office outside the northeastern United States. On Nov. 16, officials at Diamond Vision—headquartered in Manhattan with offices in other New York locations as well as in New Jersey and Connecticut—cut the ribbon officially opening an office in Tucker’s Crescent Center.

“I worked for a while in the Atlanta area about 10 years ago and really liked it. I’m delighted to be opening an office here,” said Steven Stetson, medical director and surgeon at the Tucker office, who is originally from New York. “I especially like this location. It’s a beautiful building, conveniently located near the perimeter so patients from anywhere in the area can get here with no problem.“

Stetson said after medical school he went straight from his residency into the Air Force. “It was a great experience because I was exposed to wide variety of eye problems as well as a variety of treatment methods. Some of the people we worked on were fighter pilots and we were able to correct their vision so they didn’t need glasses or contact lens.”

More than 50 percent of Americans use corrective lenses, according to Diamond Vision, which offers corrective procedures for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia, the condition that leaves many with reading difficulty after age 40. Founded 14 years ago, Diamond Vision reports that it has performed more than 75,000 procedures.

Laser eye surgery is a technology that continues to improve, according to Stetson, who said the procedure is now faster, safer and more effective than it was just 10 years ago. “We now get excellent outcomes nearly every time,” he said.

A group that benefits especially from being freed from corrective lens is professional athletes, according to former Atlanta Braves centerfielder Otis Nixon, who had laser eye surgery at Diamond Vision and was on hand at the grand opening to tell visitors about his experience.

“One reason I retired from baseball was that my eyesight wasn’t as sharp as it had been,” said Nixon, who is widely remembered by baseball fans for a 1992 over-the-wall catch that robbed the opposing team of a homerun. “If I had been able to have this surgery back in 1999, I probably would have played a few more years. I tried several vision correction treatments before this, but none of them worked for me,” said Nixon, who added, “Recovery is so fast that professional athletes don’t have to wait for the offseason to get it done.”

The retired baseball player admitted he was a bit nervous prior to the surgery, but said the staff put him as ease. “I’m still coachable. This is my coach, right here,” he said, indicating surgical technician Michelle Harbert. “She got me through it just fine.”

“Many people are a little apprehensive about eye surgery,” Harbert acknowledged, “but this is so fast there’s no time to think about it. The procedure itself takes about 21 seconds. By the next day, most people are able to drive and go to work. People with especially thin corneas may require a treatment that takes a few days to recover.”

Those who are uneasy are offered a teddy bear in a Falcons vest to hug during the procedure.

Harbert pointed to a clock on the surgery room wall. “Right after the surgery people can read that clock with no problem.” She said the office schedules approximately eight surgeries a day. “I’ve worked places that did more, but Dr. Stetson likes to take his time and do everything just right.”

“We don’t just treat eyes, we treat people,” Stetson said. “We want to give people time to know us and be perfectly comfortable. Before we do the procedure we spend time talking with people about their jobs, their lifestyle and what they are hoping surgery will do for them. Patients love the experience.”

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