CATRACT SURGERIES OFFERED TO UNINSURED
Local eye specialists are seeking uninsured people for a program that provides free surgery to remove cataracts. Tidewater Eye Centers will provide the surgeries to 14 local people in early June through a program called Mission Cataract USA.
Interested people must fill out a financial questionnaire to see if they qualify. They will need some medical screening before being accepted into the program. Applicants must be uninsured and have no other means to pay for the cataract surgery. People with government insurance, such as Medicare and Medicaid, cannot qualify.
Interested people can call (757) 397-4666 for an application. Once complete, the applications can be mailed or dropped off at the following Tidewater Eye Centers locations: Chesapeake, 805 N. Battlefield Blvd., Suite 111, Chesapeake, 2330; 3235 Academy Ave., Suite 101, Portsmouth, 23703; 3603 County Street, Portsmouth, 23707; 1564 Laskin Road, Suite 192, Virginia Beach, 23451.
TIDEWATER EYE CENTERS DO IT ALL- (Reprinted by permission by The Shopper)
From preventing blindness to eyelid surgery and BOTOX
By Judy Tull
Barry Atlas, M.D., could not have foreseen 25 years ago how the practice of ophthalmology would change over the course of just two decades. “Our technology today is fantastic,” this well-known Hampton Roads doctor says. “We are able to restore and preserve vision in ways that were never possible before.”
For instance, he cites cataract surgery that once required several days’ stay in the hospital, surgery that took up to 90 minutes to complete, and a very slow recovery of vision. “Now,” he says with avid enthusiasm, “cataract surgery takes ten minutes or less. We only use anesthesia drops in the eyes, there’s no pain, no stitches, and patients are able to recover their vision quickly.” And the use of lasers has minimized or eliminated the need for glasses or contact lenses for an astonishing two million men and women in the United States. “The advantages span every facet of people’s lives,” he says. “This procedure helps with word and recreation. It can help people increase their self esteem for cosmetic reasons and it can even help with safety issues like mothers who have to take off their glasses at the beach being able to see their children out in the water.” As a founding member and one of the eight doctors at Tidewater Eye Centers, Dr. Atlas shares with his colleagues an unwavering commitment to the field of ophthalmology as it evolves and he continues to share his knowledge with medical students at Eastern Virginia Medical School as well as with other physicians during lectures and in-office training.
Tidewater Eye Centers was created in 1999, when several well-known Hampton Roads ophthalmology practices merged, an important step in creating a practice of doctors with wide-ranging skills who care for the eye health of men, women, and children through-out their lives.
“We are a fully comprehensive practice,” Chief Executive Officer John Russ explains with pride. “We do anything that can be done, and our doctors have specialized training in virtually every area of eye care. Whatever it is, we’ve got it covered.” In face, he points out, patients travel from not only the entire mid-Atlantic region but throughout the world as well to be treated by the doctors at Tidewater Eye Centers in Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.
In Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, the practice offers LASIK surgery and specializes in using what is called CustomVue Wavefront LASIK. Using this advanced technology, the surgeon has the benefit of being able to see a detailed map of the cornea’s surface on a computer screen. He or she can then design an individualized surgical plan based on the measurements of that image. Those measurements are transferred directly into the laser that will be used and guide the laser as it makes the appropriate corrections. They also perform Photorefractive Keratectomy, commonly known as PRK, for patients who are not suitable for the regular LASIK procedure. Patients can always expect to have a thorough pre-operation consultation with the physician who will be doing their surgery. “Although we are a large practice,” John Russ points out, “we pride ourselves on our individualized patient care. No one here meets their doctor for the first time on the day of surgery.” Tidewater Eye Centers also offer BOTOX treatments at its Virginia Beach and Portsmouth offices to improve patients’ appearances by minimizing the appearance of lines and wrinkles, restoring the skin’s smooth, youthful look. They also perform eye lid surgeries to improve patients’ appearances as well as their eye sight, and more complex surgeries as when someone has lost an eye through an accident or trauma or needs specialized plastic surgery on and around the eye and forehead for reconstructive purposes.
These highly trained specialists also see patients with sight-robbing glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, which affect millions of Americans. Through early awareness and screening for patients who might be vulnerable to these eye diseases, they can often preserve vision that might have been lost before modern medicine and technologies came along.
“We are able to keep large groups of patients from going blind,” Dr. Atlas says emphatically. The doctors of Tidewater Eye Centers are supported by a staff of 70 employees, from clinical staff to billing and administrative, executive staff, surgical staff, and employees in their optical shop.
“Everyone who works here, from the person who greets a patient as soon as they come in to the doctor who examines them, treats them, or performs surgery on them, has a commitment to our patients’ well-being and total eye health,” John Russ says.