Richard A. Levinson, M.D. > Dr. FAQ

Dr. FAQ

Questions about the Laser Vision Correction Surgeon in the Denver & Boulder Colorado Area.

My retreatment rate all Laser Vision Correction procedures I have performed since 1996 is approximately 10%. My retreatment rate is less than 5% for low corrections and 20% for very high power corrections. Obviously the higher the correction the higher the retreatment rate. However, my retreatment rate has dropped significantly since 2008 to less than 3%, since I began using the IntraLase laser instead of the microkeratome blade to make the LASIK flap. My retreatment rate for PRK is about 2%.  PRK has a very low re-treatment rate, lower than LASIK.

I, too, have heard some of my colleagues claim they have extremely low retreatment rates. First of all, you need to inquire what the Laser Surgeon’s criteria is for retreatments. Many surgeons keep their retreatment rate low by simply refusing to retreat patients. Those surgeons will set arbitrary “minimum” vision limits (usually 20/40 or worse) before they will retreat. I am very aggressive in retreating any patient that feels their vision is not as sharp as they like, if:    1. There is enough residual correction to accurately retreat and 2 . There is enough residual corneal tissue to insure adequate corneal integrity after a retreatment. I would also like to again mention that the retreatment rate is lower with PRK than LASIK.

As of May, 2015, I have performed over 8700 Laser Vision Procedures, 80% LASIK and 20% PRK. Some of my colleagues have performed many times more procedures than I, but this high volume comes at the expense of quality patient care; surgeons who perform very high volumes of Laser Vision Surgery are not personally providing the pre-op and post-op care on their patients. They are delegating pre-op and post-op patient care to optometrists (optometrists are not Medical Doctors) and technicians. This means that the very high-volume Surgeon is depending on non-medical personnel to evaluate you before surgery and also to identify any potential risks or surgical complications that you may be experiencing after surgery. I will not delegate your care.

Once again, I do not claim that my results are perfect nor that I am the “best” Laser Surgeon in Denver. However, my Laser Vision staff and I are deeply committed to provide you with not only absolutely state-of-the-art technology and advanced medical care, but we also try to provide you with something that is all but lost in today’s extremely competitive medical/business environment; we will actually be nice to you. I am proud to brag about this one aspect of my practice; we receive MANY heartfelt compliments and thank-yous from our patients because we are actually treating them nicely. How can something so simple and so apparently obvious as being nice to people be ignored by “modern medicine”? When I go to the doctor, which I hate doing myself, I am fully expecting to be treated inconsiderately. I do not want to do this to my patients. I acknowledge that modern medicine is “big-business”, but this does not prevent us from being nice to you and all our patients.

Ouch. Unfortunately, and I hate doing it!!!, we sometimes run behind and keep people waiting longer than we all would like. I am surrounded by an extremely experienced, competent, compassionate staff and we make every effort to stay on schedule. However, sometimes we run into time-consuming, unavoidable, unforeseen problems with a patient. The choice for me is to spend as much time as is needed to treat a patient’s problem even if it delays me in seeing other patients. If I had a significant medical problem myself, I would want the doctor to not rush me out the door. I treat patients the way I would want to be treated.  Also, we are very willing to fit emergencies into our daily schedule.  This often throws us off schedule.  Some doctors stay on schedule by refusing to quickly see patients with emergency problems.  I see it as a trade-off.  We will get you in as a patient right away if you have an emergency problem, but the down side is that you may, occasionally, have to wait a bit longer when you have a scheduled appointment. If you have time constraints when you come to my office, tell the staff. We will make every effort to get you out on time, if possible.

Another occasional complaint about my practice is me. I seem to be a nice, likeable guy who is passionate, conscience and good at at what he does. My staff and I make every attempt to make our patients feel welcome and safe in our practice and I think our 30+ year track record demonstrates how successful we have been. But you know how some people are. You can’t please everybody.