Dr. Rafael Trespalacios of the Brevard Eye Center explains what patients should know about advanced refractive surgical procedures
Finding the right vision correction specialist can go a long way toward placing you at ease with your decision to achieve one of the most common lifelong goals among all Americans: to be free of glasses and contact lenses. Although the benefits of refractive surgery are great, many people have second thoughts about undergoing a procedure.
“Refractive eye surgery is any eye surgery used to improve the refractive state of the eye and decrease or eliminate dependency on glasses or contact lenses,” explains Rafael Trespalacios, M.D. of the Brevard Eye Center. “This can include various methods of surgical remodeling of the cornea or adjusting the internal optical structures of the eye.”
Dr. Tres explains that there have been dramatic advances in refractive surgery over the last two decades, driven not only by a technology surplus, but also by patient demand. Most procedures to treat refractive error are based on laser surgery, or LASIK, and its various expressions, which is often the only option provided when seeking a refractive surgery consultation.
“Unfortunately, even a well-intentioned provider may inappropriately recommend LASIK surgery. It is like the proverb, ‘If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” he says. “With limited tools, people apply them inappropriately or indiscriminately.”
SUPERIOR VISUAL OUTCOMES
Dr. Trespalacios, or Dr. “Tres,” as he is affectionately referred to by his patients, is an expert in cutting-edge surgical eye care, and has led the charge for many advanced procedures.
Specifically, he is the Space Coast’s first and only provider of implantable contact lenses, or ICLs. This advanced technology is endorsed by the U.S. military and has visual outcomes superior to those of LASIK in FDA clinical trials. ICLs allow for greater visual recovery times when compared to the LASIK procedure. ICLs also allow for increased stability and responsiveness in long-distance vision when compared to LASIK, again providing the opportunity to be free of glasses and contact lenses.
Bilateral INTACS for keratoconus is another advanced procedure that allows patients who were evaluated and deemed not to be LASIK candidates to experience the benefits of refractive surgery with dramatic improvements in unaided visual acuity.
Keratoconus is a degenerative thinning disorder of the natural corneal shape. Previously, patients who suffered from progressive keratoconus usually had no option other than proceeding to a corneal transplant. Today, however, patients have the option of allowing surgeons like Dr. Tres to carefully implant tiny surgical INTACS rings around the cornea to support and give the cornea back its natural articulation and shape, thus allowing the patient to halt the progression of the disease, prevent a corneal transplant altogether and improve their unaided vision.
Dr. Tres is the first to perform bilateral INTACS in the state of Florida and is the only provider of INTACS in all of Central Florida.
Also, as one of the first five surgeons in the world to perform laser-assisted corneal transplantation and the first in Florida to provide DMEK, Dr. Tres is considered Central Florida’s most experienced corneal surgeon in disease-targeted, minimally invasive transplants. He also is the first eye surgeon to perform DMEK in Central Florida.
DMEK is the most advanced, precise and visually rewarding form of corneal transplantation surgery. It allows patients who were not candidates for LASIK or other elective refractive procedures to now be candidates for multifocal intraocular lenses due to DMEK’s refractive neutral outcomes. Multifocal intraocular lenses allow patients the potential to experience excellent near and distance unaided visual acuity and be independent of glasses compared with standard intraocular lenses.
CONTINUING A MODEL OF SUCCESS
Each of these advanced refractive surgery procedures falls in line with the precedent set by Dr. Tres’s partner, Brevard Eye Center’s founder and medical director, Paul J. Befanis, M.D., who was recognized as only one of 250 surgeons in the country, and the only surgeon in Central Florida, as a premier surgeon for his contribution to the advancement of premium cataract surgery.
“Over his 25 years, Dr. Befanis has made decisions that have brought Brevard Eye Center from relative obscurity to becoming emulated as a model of success throughout the community,” says Dr. Tres.
Not only is Brevard Eye Center providing quality care and compassion with superior surgical results, but as Dr. Tres explains that with all the new developments, it is an exciting to time to be an ophthalmologist.
“Having the ability to treat my patients in a precise and efficient manner while giving them several options to choose from to treat varying sight disorders is very rewarding and fulfilling,” says Dr. Tres. “We have the opportunity at Brevard Eye Center to treat larger and more diverse segments of the community, which means improved vision and eye care for all.”