Dr. Lee Wiley discusses his LASIK surgery

It’s one thing for a physician to discuss the benefits of a procedure or treatment. It’s quite another experience for that same physician to be so enthusiastic about it to have the same surgery performed on themselves.

Dr. Lee Wiley is a cornea specialist at our Pineville and Steele Creek offices who offers LASIK and PRK surgery as life-changing methods of vision correction that results in glasses independence. During his fellowship, Dr. Wiley received his own LASIK procedure, which has given him a unique perspective that he can share with his patients during their consultations.

Dr. Wiley took a moment of his time to discuss why he received LASIK, his experience during and after the procedure, and his advice to candidates who are still on the fence.

What convinced you to receive LASIK?

During my medical training, I lived an active lifestyle and worked long hours. I found myself wearing my contact lenses too much, which would become very uncomfortable by the end of the day. Meanwhile I was treating severe contact lens related corneal ulcers resulting in vision loss in some patients while watching my LASIK patients enjoy wonderful outcomes. I knew that camping, watersports, and contact lens over wear among other things were putting me at risk for potentially vision threatening contact lens related infections on top of the overall discomfort, inconvenience and cost associated with corrective lenses.

Once bladeless LASIK technology came to the forefront (the technology we currently use), I was sold. I decided I would only take the <1% risk of a LASIK complication one time as opposed to rolling the dice every day with my contact lenses while eliminating one expense and inconvenience from my life. I’ll admit, I was a little jealous of my patients, but their outcomes motivated me to take the jump and I am so glad they inspired me to do so!

How did it feel being an eye care specialist receiving the same procedure you offer patients?

On the day of my surgery, I actually gave a LASIK lecture to the ophthalmology residents at Cleveland Clinic, including potential complications and how to fix them. So if I was going to turn back, that would have been the time. But complications are so rare that I had to use cases collected from across the country to cover that topic. After the conference I went up to the LASIK suite to treat my patients. I did several LASIK and PRK surgeries and even a SMILE case that day. These are all different types of laser vision correction.

At the end of my surgery day, it was finally my turn. I honestly wasn’t nervous at all. Being an eye care specialist, I knew the success rate of the procedure was incredibly high. I took my position on the same table that my patients were treated on, and one of my mentors, Dr. Dupps, performed my procedure. It was surreal. Being an eye care specialist made me more comfortable because I knew exactly what to expect – other than how it looked – which was incredible as a surgeon.

What was your experience like during your procedure?

My procedure lasted about ten minutes from start to finish. I felt no pain. And it was much more comfortable than I thought it would be. It was amazing seeing it from the other side and correlating that experience to what I’m used to seeing as the surgeon. I was pleased.

Did you have to take any additional steps following your LASIK procedure?

The only additional step I had to take following my LASIK procedure was seeing all my postop patients the next day. So yes, I went back to work, but I was a medical fellow I had little choice. However, I will often advise resting the eyes for the first few days for my patients.

Do you feel that having LASIK yourself gives you a more thorough perspective of the procedure?

Certainly! It has really enhanced my ability to not only counsel my patients and provide accurate expectations but also to have a heightened level of compassion and empathy during the procedure because I have been where they are. Furthermore, my own perspective as a patient gives me the utmost confidence in the procedure I am performing.

What advice would you give to patients who may still be on the fence about receiving LASIK?

Assess your lifestyle. If you feel independence from corrective lenses (glasses and/or contacts) would enhance your quality of life, then I highly recommend getting off that fence! Your surgeon will only do the procedure if it is safe and effective for you. We determine this by performing multiple screening tests during your initial evaluation, which is always free. The procedure is safe, effective, long lasting and life changing, and I can confidently say this as a patient myself.

Your path to clear vision like Dr. Lee Wiley can begin today. Schedule your LASIK consultation with Dr. Wiley at our Steele Creek or Pineville offices or Dr. William Hammonds at our SouthPark office through our online scheduling platform or through your myCEENTAchart account.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our eye doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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