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Laser Vision Center

The Laser Vision Center at Ochsner Baptist is committed to providing the highest quality laser vision correction technology and services for you and your family.  This quality, hospital-based program is staffed with a full team of ophthalmologists and medical support professionals who assist you at every step.

Medical Director Dr. Pulin Shah, board certified in Ophthalmology and the first iLASIK certified surgeon in New Orleans, specializes in the most up-to-date LASER technology for refractive surgery, including blade-free LASIK and Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL).

More information...

By choosing to have your Lasik surgery at Ochsner, you will experience:

  • Quality care from a hospital-based program
  • Coordinated system of care with one single complete Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
  • Expertise from skilled physician, Dr. Pulin Shah
  • Advanced technologies & medical treatments
  • Healthcare with peace of mind

As an Ochsner patient, you have the benefit of having one single complete Electronic Medical Record (EMR). This coordinated system of care gives all of your Ochsner physicians 24/7 access to your complete medical history at all Ochsner locations.

Jason Bruns, New Orleans, LA

How would you describe your experience at Laser Vision Center at Ochsner Baptist?
After doing a lot of research on my own, I still had a lot of questions. Dr. Shah and his staff were very helpful in answering all of my questions, going over my options, and really helped me feel comfortable deciding to have Lasik. On the day of my surgery, I was very impressed with how smooth the surgery went; I went in, had the surgery and was out in no time at all. The follow up visits were also very quick and the staff were all very welcoming to me when I arrived. 

How did your Lasik/eye surgery change your life?
I am very happy I decided to have Lasik. I am an active person, so before the surgery when I would swim, bike, or run I always had to mess around with my contacts lenses or glasses. Now that I have had the surgery, I can see better than ever and don’t have to mess with the contact lenses or glasses.

Dean A. Hickman, M.D., Metairie, LA

Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Ochsner Health System

 How did you eye surgery change your life?
My lens implants have freed me from constantly wearing glassed from the moment I awakened until the moment I go to sleep at night.  I no longer need glasses to drive, play sports or attend lectures.  Another reason for seeking surgery was difficulty with visual strain headaches due to the fact I had glasses on all day long.  Since my eye surgery I have not had such headaches.

What stands out to you the most about your experience with Dr. Shah?
Dr. Shah presented me with various options to solve my visual difficulties.  In working with Dr. Shah, we easily came to an agreement as to what would be best in my case.  I felt comfortable, as if he were advising a family member.

Ella Camburnbeck, New Orleans, LA

How did your Lasik eye surgery change your life?
My Lasik eye surgery makes me smile every time I think about it.  Waking up in the morning and not having to rush to put on contacts or glasses is extremely liberating.  I used to have issues with my contacts bothering my eyes, especially during allergy season - now with Lasik I don't have to worry about needing to carry around glasses just in case I have to take my contacts out.

What were the reasons you chose the Laser Vision Center at Ochsner Baptist for your Lasik surgery?
My childhood eye doctor in Baton Rouge recommended Dr. Shah as the best.  After meeting Dr. Shah and his staff, I was completely convinced that he was the right doctor for me.  I had previously met with one other doctor who was fine, but didn't compare to Dr. Shah with regards to his openness and experience.

Dan J. O’Leary, Baton Rouge, LA

How did your Lasik/eye surgery change your life?
I had a severe correction that was the result of my Keratoconus. My vision was treated with hard contact lenses that resulted in scaring, lack of comfort, inconvenience when traveling, unable to see without the lenses. Dr. Shah did lens replacement to both eyes that allows me to see without any correction. I can see the alarm clock!

"I cannot begin to express how pleased I have been with my procedure. I believe my case was unique because of its severity. I am thankful I found my way to Dr. Shah."

Also referred to as Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis; Laser vision correction

For millions of people, irregularities to the cornea, the dome-shaped clear cover over the front of the eye, leads to poor vision and a life of either wearing glasses or contacts. Today however, that can all change with one procedure known as LASIK.

It’s estimated that nearly four million people undergo LASIK surgery every year. Widely regarded as one of the safest of all medical procedures, LASIK has been referred to as a “modern medical miracle” because the procedure permanently changes the shape of the cornea in order to improve vision.

About LASIK

Simply explained, LASIK is a procedure a highly trained eye surgeon will perform as a means of reshaping the cornea of the eye. Utilizing laser technology, doctors can now treat refractive issues of the eye and improve vision in order to reduce a person's dependency on glasses or contact lenses.

LASIK is most often done on people who are nearsighted, medically known as myopia. It is also used to correct farsightedness and astigmatism, but LASIK is rarely recommended for those with presbyopia, or the inability to focus on objects up close.

If you are interested in learning more about LASIK, call the Laser Vision Center at Ochsner Baptist for a consultation at 504-894-2020.

Blade-Free LASIK - The Newest Technology at Ochsner’s LASER Vision Center

It’s called Blade-Free LASIK and currently the LASER Vision Center at Ochsner Baptist is the only center in the New Orleans area performing this procedure.

During LASIK surgery, the doctor must create a flap, or opening, over the cornea. Up until now, this was done by using a thin blade, but Ochsner now offers Blade-Free LASIK where a laser is used to create the thin flap, not a blade.

Is LASIK for me?

With everything, there are risks and rewards and both must be considered before undergoing LASIK. The FDA and American Academy of Ophthalmology have developed guidelines and recommendations that indicate which people would be good candidates for LASIK.

  • You should be at least 18 years old (21 in some cases, depending on the laser used), because vision continues to change in people younger than 18. A rare exception is a child with one very nearsighted and one normal eye. Using LASIK to correct a very nearsighted eye may prevent amblyopia (lazy eye).
  • You should not have this procedure if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, because these conditions can affect eye measurements.
  • You should not have this procedure if you take certain prescription drugs, such as Accutane, Cardarone, Imitrex, or oral prednisone.
  • Your eyes must be healthy and your prescription stable. If you are nearsighted, you should postpone LASIK until your condition has stabilized. Nearsightedness may continue to increase in some patients until their mid to late 20s.
  • You should be in good general health. LASIK may not be recommended for patients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, herpes infections of the eye, or cataracts. You should discuss this with your surgeon.
  • Other recommendations:
  • Weigh the risks and rewards. If you're happy wearing contacts or glasses, you may not want to have the surgery.
  • Make sure you have realistic expectations from the surgery.

Special Note for Those with Presbyopia

It’s just a fact of life; as you age so do your eyes. When those “over-40-eyes” begin to surface the preferable method of seeing up close is to use reading glasses. So it must be noted that for patients with presbyopia LASIK cannot correct vision so that one eye can see at both distance and near. However, LASIK can be done to allow one eye to see near and the other far, which is called "monovision." If you can adjust to this correction, it may eliminate or reduce your need for reading glasses.

Before your LASIK surgery can be scheduled, you will undergo a complete eye examination to make sure your eyes are healthy. Other tests will be done to measure the curvature of the cornea, the size of the pupils in light and dark, the eyes' refractive error (to make sure LASIK is an option), and the thickness of the cornea (to make sure you will have enough corneal tissue left after surgery).

I’m now scheduled for LASIK, what can I expect?

A signed informed consent form is needed before the procedure. This form confirms that you know the procedure's risks, benefits, alternative options, and possible complications.

Every patient is different, but generally speaking, on the

Day of Your Procedure

  • You will need to arrive at the LASER Vision Center about an hour prior to your scheduled surgery time
  • Once checked in, you will be assigned a room and if needed, offered a sedative to help you relax while being prepped for surgery
  • Once in the procedure room, your eyes will be cleaned and numbed with anesthetic drops.  An eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the procedure.
  • Over the next few minutes, your doctor will perform the procedure, first making an opening to expose the cornea. Within a few minutes and using a laser, your physician will make the appropriate changes using a laser. Once complete, the flap will be folded back over the cornea.
  • Following your procedure, your eyes will be examined and post-procedure care instructions will be given, which will include the use of eye drops and a temporary eye shield for protection.

After The Procedure

  • Immediately following the surgery, you may have burning, itching, or a feeling that something is in the eye. This usually doesn't last for more than 6 hours.
  • The doctor may prescribe a mild pain reliever medication. It is very important NOT to rub the eye after LASIK, so that the flap does not dislodge or move.
  • The day of surgery, vision generally is blurry or hazy, but by the next day the blurriness improves. Call the doctor immediately if you have severe pain or any of the symptoms worsen before your scheduled follow-up appointment (24 - 48 hours after surgery).
  • At the first doctor visit after the surgery, the eye shield will be removed and the doctor will examine your eye and test your vision. You may receive eye drops to help prevent infection and inflammation. Do not drive until your vision has improved enough to safely do so.
  • Other things to avoid include swimming, hot tubs, whirlpools, contact sports, lotions, creams, and eye makeup for 2 - 4 weeks after surgery. The doctor will give you specific instructions.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most people's vision will stabilize in a few days after surgery, but for some people it may take up to 3 - 6 months.

Some people need an additional surgery to get the best possible results. Although a second surgery may improve distance vision, it may not relieve other symptoms such as glare, haloes, or problems with night driving. These are commonly reported complaints after LASIK surgery, especially when it is done using older methods. Often, these problems will go away by 6 months after the surgery, but a small number of people may continue to have problems with glare.

If your distance vision has been corrected with LASIK, it is likely that you will still need reading glasses at around age 45.

LASIK has commonly been performed in the United States since 1996. Most people seem to have stable and lasting vision improvement.

Payment plan options are available to all Lasik patients.  Learn about special financing, low monthly payment options, how to apply and more. 

Click here to find out more.

While LASIK is the most common laser surgery, it’s not the only refractive surgery available at the LASER Vision Center.  There are other surgical procedures available and Ochsner does offer a consultation with a refractive surgeon to help you determine which procedure is best for you. To schedule your consultation, call 504-894-2020.

Currently, the LASER Vision Center also offers:

Custom Intralase Lasik, Available exclusively only at Ochsner Baptist
Because no two eyes are exactly alike, Ochsner’s LASER Vision Center utilizes the Custom Intralase Method, which is the safest and most accurate method of performing LASIK today. This state-of-the-art technology tailors a custom correction procedure for individual irregularities of each patient’s eye.

Using the VISX CustomVue WaveScan system, your doctor first captures specific information about the eye; it evaluates nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and any other imperfection of the eye. Using that information your physician can then proceed with a customized laser procedure using Intralase Lasik.

During surgery using the Intralase method, a blade NEVER touches your eye. Instead, two separate lasers are used to perform your LASIK procedure. First, the Intralase LASER is used to create a corneal flap. Once this flap has been created and reflected back, the VISX S4 excimer laser reshapes the cornea according to the fingerprint type analysis performed by the WaveScan, in order to insure the best possible visual outcome. Also, CustomVue uses Iris Registration Technology to align and register the WaveFront treatment. With greater alignment accuracy, the procedure allows for a more precise correction and optimum visual acuity. In the final step, the corneal flap created by the Intralase FS LASER is repositioned, and "locks" securely back into its original position. Click here to download the Custom Intralase Lasik Information Sheet.

 Epi-Lasik or LASEK

This procedure is for patients who are good laser surgery candidates, but who may have thin corneas or other corneal conditions in which creating a LASIK flap is not medically recommended.

The major difference between this procedure and LASIK is that no flap is created in the cornea. Instead, the surface layer of the cornea (epithelium) is gently removed. The Excimer Laser is then applied and reshapes the cornea to correct your prescription. A thin soft bandage contact lens will be worn for several days after treatment to help with healing. This procedure will require more recovery time compared to LASIK, but the visual results are identical.

Phakic IOL (Visian ICL)

This procedure is often referred to as the "Implantable Contact Lens." The Visian ICL is similar in size, shape, and feel to a soft contact lens, but it is inserted into the eye, just behind the iris (the colored part of the eye) and in front of the natural lens. After being placed through a small incision, the artificial lens unfolds and rests in its permanent position. The lens is invisible to the naked eye. After the procedure, vision often is instantly improved, though there may be a feeling of mild scratchiness. This procedure is ideal for young patients who are not candidates for LASER procedures, either because of a thin cornea or a prescription which is too high for LASIK to be safely performed.

Refractive Lens Exchange

This procedure is typically performed on patients over 45 years of age with a high spectacle or contact lens prescription. The purpose is to exchange or replace the natural lens of the eye with an implant that provides clear focusing ability. This procedure is identical in technique to commonly performed cataract surgery, but is performed for the purpose of changing the eye's prescription, before cataracts ever develop.

Advanced Cataract Surgery Lens Transplants

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed procedure in the United States. This procedure replaces the cloudy natural lens of the eye with a new synthetic lens, which results in improved vision and offers the ability to reduce your dependence on glasses for driving and/or reading. With today’s advanced technology, cataract surgery is performed through a tiny incision in the eye. Depending on your vision challenges, your surgeon will use one of two lenses as a replacement:

  • Multifocal IOL - Multifocal Intraocular Lenses aim to offer a full range of vision (near, intermediate and distance). This lens can actually help you become less dependent or even eliminate the need to wear eyeglasses, bifocals or reading glasses after cataract surgery.
  •  Toric IOL - For patients with significant amounts of astigmatism, there is the Toric Lens Implants that correct astigmatism and reduce the need to wear glasses for distance vision. However, the astigmatism correcting Toric Lens still do not  correct up close vision as required for reading, so you may still need either  bifocals or reading glasses to see up close.

Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL)

Corneal Cross-linking, available in Louisiana exclusively at Ochsner Baptist, is a state-of-the-art procedure that strengthens corneas that have been weakened by keratoconus or other corneal diseases.

Keratoconus is a corneal disease that changes the shape of the cornea. This disease can cause large amounts of astigmatism, creating severely blurred vision that cannot be fully corrected with glasses.

About Cross-Linking

Corneal Cross-linking is minimally invasive procedure that involves applying liquid riboflavin (vitamin B2) to the surface of the eye, followed a controlled application of ultraviolet light to stop the progression of keratoconus.

Corneal Cross-linking is the only FDA approved treatment for progressive Keratoconus. It some cases, this procedure can prevent the need for corneal transplant.