Published: Feb. 2, 2010
Updated: July 19, 2010
In this podcast, Terry Kim MD, Professor of Ophthalmology, answers questions about Duke Eye Center’s vision correction options using LASIK and cataract surgery.
Announcer: Our first guest tonight is Dr. Terry Kim, who is a refractive surgery specialist over at the Duke Eye Center, and he's the ophthalmology consultant for the Duke men's basketball team.
Terry thanks a lot for joining us. First of all maybe you could tell us what you do as the official team eye doctor?
Dr. Kim: John, first of all thank you for having me. I went to college and medical school here and I've been listening to you for 12 years and it's great to be here on your radio show.
Basically how this happen was, back about 1997-98 when David Henderson and Quinn Snyder were here I started to do the trauma eye care for the team -- in other words if somebody got bumped in the eye I would take care of it.
So I asked these guys, ‘Hey, who does your vision screening?’ I was surprised to find out that there was no official vision screening.
So I started doing an annual vision screening prior to the start of the season, where we check the vision and the pressure in the back of the eye. That evolved into doing the eye care for Coach K, the players, the staff, the families -- and its been a real special experience and I think it has proven really valuable.
We've been able to catch some high eye pressures and visual errors that we've been able to treat with LASIK and other surgeries.
Announcer: When you do those screenings over that period of time, has it led to any corrective eye surgery to help the vision of any of the players that you could talk about?
Dr. Kim: Yeah, it definitely has. One point and example, someone who couldn't be with us tonight -- Chris Carrawell, has come back as head team manager. It’s great to have him back on the team.
He was having problems with his contacts during seasonal play, so when he finished and before he got drafted by the Spurs, he came to me and said, "Hey can we look at LASIK?"
So we pride ourselves at the Eye Center of doing a very good preoperative screening exam. He was a good candidate. He did his LASIK and he did great. In fact, we're celebrating his 10-year anniversary.
Announcer: Oh, wow.
Dr. Kim: He told me the other day that he is seeing well. It's made a tremendous difference in terms of his playing and coaching career. Now it's time to get him back for his routine eye exam.
Announcer: Ok we'll have to tell him about that.
We're speaking with Dr. Terry Kim, a refractive eye specialist over at the Duke Eye Center.
Now, obviously healthy eye vision is important for athletes, Duke athletes and all athletes. But, how about for the rest of us? How important are eye exams and how often should eye exams be held for the average person?
Dr. Kim: Well, good question John. That’s a very important issue. We take our eyes for granted and it's only until you lose our vision that you start worrying about things.
So I recommend if its a healthy individual, every one to two years. But certainly if you have diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration -- that may mean more frequency when it comes to follow up.
Announcer: Now as I said before you're a refractive surgeon or LASIK surgeon over at Duke. What sort of options do people have for vision correction these days?
Dr. Kim: Well, you know, that’s a good question. Vision correction surgery has now involved not only vision correction surgery, but cataract surgery as well. So we perform cataract and vision correction, meaning LASIK, at Duke Eye Center.
And some of the special advances we've seen on the LASIK side John, are the ability now to use a special laser, called a femtosecond laser, to create what's called a flap. So we don't have to use a blade anymore, so it's blade-less, which patients really like.
We also have some new software, which can perform what's called a customized ablation, which means better visual outcomes for the patient.
Now on the cataract surgery side, we have a host of new lenses that allow us to correct for astigmatism and also give patients better up-close and distance vision after cataract surgery. And that’s with the so-called premium lenses that we offer with cataract surgery.
So those have been the major advances over the last 10 years.
Announcer: Very interesting.
Well I know now that the Duke Eye center is one of the most highly ranked programs in the country. Does that mean you guys focus mostly on specialized cases, or can anyone go to the Duke Eye Center and receive your treatment and services?
Dr. Kim: I feel real fortunate to be part of a world-class eye center at Duke. It covers all the specialties -- cornea, glaucoma, retina -- and it has some of the top specialists in the country.
But we also, and surprising perhaps to most people, we provide comprehensive eye exams, we work with our network of providers that assist us in this endeavor, because healthy eyes are very important.
So we encourage folks to check us out. We're a full-service eye center. We've been here for over 50 years, we're going to be here for another 50 years, and probably longer than that.