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Police Life Laser Eye Surgery Article

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Can laser eye surgery help police professionals do their job better?

Can laser eye surgery help police professionals do their job better?

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  • 1. 8 POLICE Life s JUNE 2003 Advertising feature Better Vision, Better Performance Can laser eye surgery help police professionals do their job better? fter laser eye surgery, Tiger Woods, arguably the world's best golfer, A effortlessly won the Pebble Beach PGA tournament in February, 2000, in California. "The hole is bigger, the ball is bigger," Woods remarked after his win. In little more than a year's time, the US Air refractive error, achieved 20/20 (6/6) or bet- Force has improved mission readiness with a ter, 97% achieved 20/25 (6/8) or better, and program designed to eliminate the need for 100% achieved 20/32 or better (20/40 or contact lenses and glasses. Since the program 6/12 is the driving standard) began, the Air Force has eliminated the need In a recent interview with Health Which? for, or reduced the dependence on, glasses for Reinstein said: “LASIK is extraordinarily safe more than 4,000 service members. in fully trained hands, but even average sur- According to the Air Force Surgeon geons can still get it right 90 per cent of the General's office, the purpose for their laser time.” He is an expert laser surgeon who surgery program is to increase the readiness spends a lot of time educating people on the of warfighters by eliminating the need for marked difference between expert and just glasses or contact lenses. Professor Dan experienced surgeons. “Just like in any pro- Reinstein, medical director of the London fession, the few bad apples can give the pro- Vision Clinic in the UK, thinks that these fession a bad name.” types of programs are the future of laser vision correction. Contrast Professor Dan Reinstein screening patient for laser eye treatment suitability Around 100,000 people a year in the UK are Karl Beesley, a former police officer from now having laser eye surgery. Those who Winterley has noticed a “stark contrast” To combat the ineffective information avail- the surgeon is paramount in successful have had laser treatments include Sir Richard between clinics in terms of patient care and able to patients, Professor Reinstein has pro- LASIK procedures, which are the most pop- Branson, Nicole Kidman, Courteney Cox, Mel service. “Having been a recipient of surgery duced a handout called the UK Guide to Laser ular these days, used by 90 per cent of Brown and Nasser Hussain, England’s cricket and care at two facilities I am well positioned Eye Surgery. “Sensational media stories patients. captain. Keen patients include professionals to comment on the differences between clin- highlighting either extreme positives or The current technology, called Wavefront, whose vision is key to their work perform- ics. During my appointments I have been extreme negatives do not present the real makes it possible to achieve 20/20 and even ance. Golfers, sportsmen, pilots, firemen, very impressed by Professor Reinstein’s ded- objective opportunity of laser eye surgery.” better. Wavefront LASIK takes into account paramedics, police officers and military per- ication to research in understanding what Fortunately, Beesley and Jelley dug further each patient’s “eyeprint”, which is as unique sonnel are taking advantage of the surgery. others just shrug their shoulders at.” than the morning paper to find the truth as a fingerprint, and creates a specialized “Corrective lenses can be a hindrance in According to Health Which? magazine, sur- about laser eye surgery. “As far as the cor- treatment plan for their LASIK or PRK treat- the field or in the cockpit. We are increasing geons like Reinstein are rare in the UK. They rective surgery is concerned, I would grade ment. Reinstein is firm on the impact this will the readiness aspect of urgency oriented pro- found that “Dan Reinstein is one of very few the results as excellent, and I now consider make for future eye treatments. “This makes fessionals by reducing their dependence on ophthalmologists working in the UK who is a myself to have perfect vision.” says Beesley. the same type of difference in laser eye sur- glasses and contact lenses. Right now we see fellowship-trained specialist refractive sur- gery as that between a bespoke suit and one a lot of folks out there in the field who do a geon.” Cambridge educated, he had to leave Freedom just off the rack. Bespoke treatments mean variety of things in a day that are impeded by the UK to pursue specialty training in the Jelley is happy with his new freedom at better overall fit for the patient, resulting in glasses and contact lenses." field. “Coming back to practice in London has work. “When I do catch up with the suspect, outstanding visual results.” Daniel Jelley, a London Police Officer presented quite a few challenges. While the and they resist or fight, I no longer have to In terms of UK Police Force policy on the agrees. “I couldn't tolerate contact lenses, technology is better than in the US, patients worry about my glasses being knocked off or surgery, every department has a different and so before my laser eye surgery I had to don’t have access to the same volume of with having to look for them after a fight. I policy. It is slowly becoming acceptable for wear glasses. Now during a foot chase, I can objective information both in the news and can also see further than before, which officers to have the surgery if they require it. actually chase after people without my glass- through the different clinics.” makes it easier to pick up license plates and Outside of work, officers, including Jelley, es bumping up and down on my nose.” Objective information is necessary to over- get more accurate descriptions of places and have found other benefits. “Off the job, I am "Nearly 100 percent of our patients do not come a strong fear of the unknown which subjects.” playing rugby now and can actually see need glasses to see after this procedure," stops many people from going ahead with The two most common procedures are what's going on, and I'm happy to be able to says Reinstein who is also consultant to the the life changing surgery. “The media has called PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) wear a decent pair of fashionable sunglass- Medical Protection Society on developing done a very good job of generating fear and LASIK (laser in situ Keratomileusis). The es without having to worry about a pre- guidelines to ensure that safety standards are through inaccurate and often false informa- laser reshapes the cornea by removing scription.” met by UK surgeons. tion based on anecdotal evidence. If I were to microscopic tissue from the surface with an In a study presented at the Congress of tell someone that the risk of damaging your ultraviolet light. The reshaped cornea con- Further information Wavefront Sensing and Aberration-Free vision through laser eye treatment is less forms to the patient’s contact lenses or To get a free copy of Professor Reinstein’s Refractive Correction in San Francisco this than the risk of getting in a fatal car accident, glasses prescription. The beam of light is so UK Guide to Laser Eye Surgery visit February 2003, an outstanding 92% of most people would consider that a low risk precise it can cut notches in a strand of www.londonvisionclinic.com or call 0800 patients, including those with a very high scenario.” human hair without breaking it. The skill of 587 4705.