What’s It Like To Have LASIK…. An Insider’s Experience!

See that girl on the right side of the picture below? Wait……..you can’t really see her that well can you.


Well, that’s me, and that picture is pretty close to what it feels like to be nearsighted (aka blind at a distance.)

OK, that is almost what it’s like. It’s much more like someone smudged Vaseline all over my eyes.  You get the idea. My world without contacts or glasses is pretty blurry, unless I’m holding something  right up to my face.

Maybe this is better….


Much better!! Like I said,  that’s me (Lesli), and that is how I like to wear my glasses. I ONLY want them to be stylin’ sunglasses that are either on my head holding my hair back or protecting my eyes from the sun. With the aid of my contact lenses, that had never been a problem, but sometimes that just was not good enough…

As you can see from the picture above, I work at an eye care practice with wonderful doctors and staff. On a daily basis I witness our doctors helping patients to see their world with crystal clear vision. In many cases, they receive a life without contact or glasses. This is especially true for those who come in to have laser vision correction, also known as LASIK. I stand in awe on a weekly basis as I see those transformations. I’m not kidding. I get to see the ACTUAL change that takes place in those patients because I assist in LASIK surgery. To this day, I have never stopped being amazed by the process of it all.  I also must admit that I never stopped being slightly jealous of those patients as they ditched their contacts or glasses.

I know you’re thinking…. “Well, why don’t you have LASIK?”

I just did. I had LASIK with the wonderful Dr. Kloess!

So, if you’ve ever wondered what it is like to have laser vision correction, this is your opportunity! I’m giving you my unique perspective as I become the patient.  After all, how many people do you know get to be on both sides of the laser?

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll detail my experience through the process of having LASIK surgery. I’ll tell you the why, the what, and more importantly the feeling of the whole experience. Please join me, and I’m sure I’ll answer some questions you may have, and some that you may not have even thought of.  I hope you visit the page in a few days to see how my  journey started. If you have friends who might be interested, please share this with them as well!



LASIK Center opens in Shelby County

The Alabama Vision Center opened the first LASIK center in Shelby County on April 3, 2014. LASIK is an out-patient vision correction procedure used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

Dr. Kloess with patient“We were the first in Birmingham to perform bladeless, all laser LASIK,” says Price Kloess, MD, Medical Director of the Alabama Vision Center. “ We are happy to now bring this same life-changing technology to Greystone, Liberty Park, Chelsea Park and other Shelby County communities”.

DR. VELAZQUEZ-ORGINIALThe LASIK center is located at the St. Vincent’s Health and Wellness Center at One Nineteen. “The demand for LASIK is very strong in this community,” reports Dr. Andrew Velazquez, Co-Director for the Center. “Offering the best LASIK technology available at a world-class facility like One Nineteen is a perfect fit for these communities”.

Schedule a free LASIK consultation today by calling 205-991-2021.

Sports-Related Eye Injuries Blind Thousands of People Each Year

Ophthalmologists encourage athletes to wear eye protection as spring sports season begins

SAN FRANCISCO – March 31, 2014 – As millions take to the playing field this spring, the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons warns the public that thousands of people are blinded by sports-related eye injuries. In support of Sports Eye Safety Month this April, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds coaches, parents and athletes of the importance of wearing eye protection – whether for Little League or the Majors.

Of the 100,000 eye injuries resulting from sports each year, an estimated 42,000 people are treated in the emergency room, and 13,500 end up legally blind.[1] In fact, according to a January 2014 study of consumer product related injuries requiring emergency room treatment, sports equipment – including balls, bats, and rackets – was responsible for[2]:

  • 41 percent of emergency room visits for children age 10 to 14.
  • 25 percent of emergency room visits for people age 15 to 24.
  • 20 percent of emergency room visits for children age 5 to 9.

In addition to injuries from sports equipment, many also suffer eye injuries caused by another player’s errant finger or elbow to the eye.

Eye injuries resulting from athletic activities range from corneal abrasions (scratches on the surface of the eye) to the more serious, potentially blinding injuries, such as an orbital fracture (bones around the eye are broken) and detached retina (when the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye is pulled out of place). Fortunately, 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable by wearing protective eyewear.[3]

EyeSmart®, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s public education program, provides the following sight-saving tips about sports-related eye protection:

  1. Youth who play sports should wear appropriate eye protection, such as polycarbonate lenses or masks, that meets the requirements of the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) – even if the league does not officially require it.
  2. People who wear contacts or glasses should also wear appropriate protective eyewear, as contacts offer no protection and glasses are not sufficient protection since lenses may shatter when hit by a projectile.
  3. To preserve the vision they have left, all functionally one-eyed athletes – those with one normal eye and the other eye with less than 20/40 vision, even when corrected with glasses or contacts – should wear appropriate eye protection for all sports.
  4. Functionally one-eyed athletes and those who have had an eye injury or surgery should not participate in boxing or full-contact martial arts because of the high risk of additional serious injury that could lead to blindness.
  5. For sports in which a facemask or helmet with eye protector or shield must be worn, such as football and lacrosse, it is strongly recommended that functionally one-eyed athletes also wear sports goggles that conform to the requirements of ASTM F803.
  6. Sports eye protection should be replaced when damaged or yellowed with age, as they may have become weakened and are no longer protective.

“Every year I treat dozens of kids with eye injuries from sports, especially at the beginning of the season,” said Rahul N. Khurana, M.D., ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Whether they get a finger in the eye, or are slammed in the face with an errant ball, all are injuries that could have been easily avoided with safety goggles. Spending a little money on goggles could make a big difference in preventing a life-long eye injury.”

 Learn more about how to protect eyes while enjoying athletic activities by visiting http://www.geteyesmart.org.


About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology, headquartered in San Francisco, is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons — Eye M.D.s — with more than 32,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three “O’s” – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who has the education and training to treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit http://www.aao.org. The Academy’s EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit http://www.geteyesmart.org or http://www.ojossanos.org to learn more.
[1] U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Sports and Recreational Eye Injuries, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 2000
[2] Chen, et al. Age and Consumer Product-Related Eye Injuries in the United States. Rhode Island Medical Journal. January 2014.
[3] Harrison, et al. Eye injuries in the youth athlete: a case-based approach. Sports Medicine, 2002. 31(1) 33-40

NEW LASIK & Hearing Suites in Greystone!

ImageWe are proud to announce the opening of our new
LASIK Surgery Center at One Nineteen. LASIK is an excellent alternative to
contacts and glasses.  Our eye surgeons offer the safest, most precise
laser technology with skilled local surgeons. Spring Break and Summer are the
perfect times to be “free to see”.  Imagine a beach or ski trip with no glasses
or contacts!  Dr. Kloess and Dr. Velazquez will develop a personalized vision
correction plan for you.  So before you hit the slopes or surf, set up your FREE
Consultation today at 888-841-EYES.
Eyes and ears develop and decline at the same
time, so it is advised to have both senses regularly checked.  This April, we
also opened a comprehensive Hearing Center at One Nineteen.  Audiologist
Britiany Pierson will help determine if your spouse is truly hard of
hearing.  We look forward to providing a lifetime of care from doctors who

Introducing Eyebobs

Wear the readers that celebrities acclaim, style guides are praising and ones that your face will just love! The Alabama Vision & Hearing Center now carries “eyebobs”! Check out our selection at the Greystone optical shop located in St. Vincent’s 119 Center.

Introducing Eyebobs

Winterize Your Eyes, by Price Kloess, M.D.

ImageWinter weather can present lots of health challenges for your eyes.  The most common issue this time of year is dryness.  The reason this occurs is because with indoor heating come a drastic drop in humidity.  This dry air environment causes increased evaporation of tears resulting in a drier ocular surface.  Most people will experience some degree of eye dryness in the winter but it is especially problematic for chronic dry eye sufferers, older women, people on several ocular medications and people taking oral medications that can dry the eyes (such as anti depressants and antihistamines).  Common dry eye symptoms include redness, burning, blurred vision especially with prolonged reading and generalized eye pain.  Some simple ways to treat dry eyes include frequent artificial tears (preferably preservative-free, these are all over the counter), using a humidifier in your bedroom or at your work station and taking omega 3 fatty acid and flaxseed oil.  Many of these over the counter drops come in a “gel-drop” form that give longer lubrication. We certainly recommend seeing your eye doctor as there are several prescription options when home remedies don’t work.

We at the Alabama Vision Center wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

November: Diabetes Eye Disease Awareness

Diabetes wordcloud

No one really looks forward to going to the doctor, but as a person living with type 1 diabetes, the value of an eye exam means so much more to me than most. It means knowing that each year, I’m in a position to be proactive rather than reactive to any complications that may occur.


Diabetic Retinopathy VisionYou know that if you have diabetes, it isn’t an easy job. Its full time, gets tiring and even when you do everything right, you can still have dreaded “complications.” A lot of these problems, resulting from the disease, are silent to start off with. They can creep up on you and steal things you need without you even realizing it, and one of those things is your sight. Yes, it’s true. One of the most common complications related to diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, where your small blood vessels start to grow in an attempt to increase blood flow to your eye. The results can be devastating, but the good news is that if you’re willing to take control of your eyes and go in for preventative care, it can reduce the risk and allow you to get treatment immediately if you ever do start to have complications.

It’s also good to know that if you are a person with diabetes, there are some things you should do before your annual eye exam. First, pay close attention to your blood sugars, and have a general idea of where your blood sugar normally runs. The doctor may want to know how your control is going, and how it is correlating to what is going on with what he looks at during the exam. Second, check your blood sugar at the visit before they refract you. You may not realize that your vision gets blurred when you are having a higher blood sugar, but that will definitely alter any prescription you might need. And most importantly, relax. It can be scary to think about what can be found at a visit, but just knowing about your health helps to take out any worry and gives you the tools you need necessary to take control and stay healthy.

dilated blue eye Something else that everyone should know. Your eyes can tell you a lot about your health. For many people, going through a dilated eye exam is the first indicator that they may have diabetes. Retinopathy is one of the first signs of having long term high blood sugars, and it can tell you that maybe you should see your regular doctor for a full check-up. So, whether you have diabetes or you don’t, I highly recommend that you go to your eye doctor for your annual exams. There is so much beauty in this world to see, that no one should ever m iss if they don’t have to.

Written by Lesli Bass
Practice Administrator and Type 1 Diabetic

What a fun time with this patient and her family! See behind-the-scenes of LASIK eye surgery for yourself. Proud to promote these incredible doctors! Thank you Kristi Lyle Jones

Life-Changing LASIK

This is not your Grandmother’s Cataract Surgery

 Exciting new LenSx Laser Cataract Surgery is now available in Birmingham at the Alabama Vision Center

grandmother glasses

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed procedure in the world.  With the aging baby boomers, it should remain #1 for years to come.

 I tell my patients that we all develop cataracts starting around age 50 and that many of us will need or want to have them removed.  Thankfully, the science of cataract surgery is ever evolving to newer and safer methods with better visual outcomes.  While traditional cataract surgery is still an excellent procedure that is brief (15-20 minutes), generally painless, performed on an outpatient basis with rapid recovery in vision and return to normal activities, the new LenSx Laser Cataract Surgery has finally been approved for use and will become the primary method in the future.

LenSx ScreenLenSx is similar in its approach and precision to LASIK, a highly effective refractive procedure.  The femtosecond laser technology that brought new levels of safety, accuracy and predictability to LASIK is the same LenSx laser cataract technology we now use.  In traditional cataract surgery, I use a hand-held metal blade to create incisions that allow access to the cataract.  I then create a circular opening in the natural capsule of the cataract followed by breaking up the cataract with an ultrasonic probe.  Many patients also receive manual incisions in the cornea to treat astigmatism thus improving their natural vision.  With LenSx laser cataract surgery, all of the steps I just mentioned are performed with the laser.LenSx Eye

The easiest way to think about LenSx is this:  if cataract surgery involves ten steps, the LenSx laser does the first six steps in 25-30 seconds (vs. 7-9 minutes with the traditional method) at a level of precision that cannot be duplicated manually.

LenSx IncisionOur parents and grandparents had cataract surgery the traditional way and did well.  The next generation of cataract patients are technologically savvy, much more interested in being free from glasses after cataract surgery, and have active lifestyles that seek newer procedures with minimal recovery times. While the LenSx laser procedure is an option for all cataract patients, the timing for the availability of LenSx is perfect to meet the demands of the younger, active cataract population.

I am so thankful that we live in an era where the advances in surgical procedures are so incredible. Being involved in ophthalmic research allows me a peek at what’s to come. Doing cataract surgery with a laser has honestly been a dream of mine for many years and sometimes it is still hard to believe that dream has come true.

If you are “50 ish” you need an annual eye exam. If your vision is not what it used to be, you may well have cataracts. So come see us and, if by chance you do wind up needing cataract surgery, together we can explore your options and further discuss this exciting new LenSx laser cataract technology.