SOURCE: Diamond Vision

September 13, 2005 15:21 ET

LASIK Can Be Part of Emergency Preparedness

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 13, 2005 -- According to Major Steven Stetson, MD, an ophthalmologist formerly in the Air Force, LASIK can be an important component of emergency preparedness for people who are dependent on glasses or contact lenses. "LASIK is useful in two ways," Stetson explained. "First is the emergency component: the flooding of New Orleans occurred in the middle of the night and many people did not have time to fumble for their glasses or contact lenses; those who were less dependent on them could move more quickly to safety."

Dr. Stetson goes onto explain, "The second advantage is portability: in displacement situations, evacuees often have to leave home with little more than the clothes on their backs. Glasses or contact lenses compete with other important items such as food, water and money. In addition, glasses may break and contact lenses can easily be misplaced or lost in water."

Dr. Stetson warns, however, that LASIK reduces but does not always eliminate dependence on glasses or contact lenses: "LASIK works very well at reducing dependence on glasses and contact lenses, especially for distance vision -- and that's extremely important when reacting to disasters."

Dr. Stetson's New York practice, Diamond Vision, has helped hundreds of people involved in 9/11 or its aftermath. James Mitrione, who as a police officer was called to the scene on 9/11, believes that LASIK may help not just the victims, but the respondents too. "Being able to see as well as help others in an emergency without glasses is a saving grace. If I need to, I can now wear a gas mask easily or navigate between zones of high heat, cold or humidity," said Mitrione.

After 9/11, Diamond Vision reports treating patients who were seeking LASIK precisely for emergency preparedness. "We had a Mom come to us shortly after 9/11," says Isabelle Filatov, Diamond Vision CEO. "This patient said that if a disaster like this happens again, she wants to be able to be up and running immediately and be there for her children."

The New York metropolitan area is also at risk from extreme weather, hurricanes, strong winds, even earthquakes. Just on natural disasters alone, it ranks 207th out of 331, #1 being the safest metropolitan area, according to Forbes.com and the Sperling's Best Places, a data collection company based in Portland, Ore.

Diamond Vision patients who serve in Iraq also testified that the procedure had freed them from the worry of breaking glasses or finding a doctor to get prescriptions filled.

LASIK is an in-patient eye procedure that treats nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. New improvements such as bladeless flaps and customization have helped make LASIK even safer than wearing contact lenses for most people. Diamond Vision is the #1 LASIK practice in the New York metropolitan area.

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