Issue 2 » People Forget what Normal Vision was Like
A Conversation with Dr. Craig Helm
Santa Clarita is a community of parents who love being with one another at their children’s activities. I remember seeing a dad in the stands who couldn’t see his son on the field until a lady lent her glasses to him. He said, “I can actually see my son’s face. I can’t believe I’ve been missing this for so many years.” He asked for the best eye doctor in town and the consensus of the baseball moms was to go see Dr. Helm.
3W: That’s a true story Dr. Helm. So why do you think people wait so long to get glasses?
Dr. Helm: Well that is a story I hear over and over again. It’s because our peripheral vision and clarity can diminish so slowly over time that we become accustomed to it and forget what normal vision was like. That’s why I always tell people to come see us the moment you suspect you may have a problem. In the vast majority of cases we can do something specific to help your condition.
“In the vast majority of cases, we can do something specific to help your condition.”
3W: What happens to our eyes as we age?
Dr. Helm: Your eyes go through different phases as you age. The first phase is called presbyopia which people typically go through in their 40s. If they have good distance vision they’ll find they lose their ability to focus and need reading glasses because the crystal-line lens begins to lose elasticity so you lose your ability to focus.
The second phase is cataract development which virtually occurs with everyone to a different extent in your mid to late 60s, but it can occur at any age.
“Our peripheral vision and clarity diminishes so slowly over time that we become accustomed to it and forget what normal vision was like.”
3W: Does age play a role in being a candidate for Lasik surgery?
Dr. Helm: Lasik is a great solution for a vast majority of our patients. But for the older patients it may not be our best option because we know that Lasik is associated with dry eye conditions. So Lasik might make some seniors’ dry eye condition worse.
3W: Does everyone develop cataracts at some point.
Dr. Helm: Yes, but the good news is we have a permanent solution. When we perform cataract surgery we implant a prescription acrylic lens in your eye. We basically put the prescription of your glasses in your eyes. The benefit is that there is no dry eye, and the results last your life time.
3W: What do you tell people who are afraid to see the eye doctor?
Dr. Helm: I would say, come see us soon because you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. And there is no procedure we do in our office that is painful for the patient thanks to our amazing anesthetic eye drops and our IV sedation.
3W: How do people know if their doctor is staying current with the latest technology and procedures?
Dr. Helm: We are up to speed with the latest procedures and technology. But to your point, I strongly encourage people to go online and do research and come to me with questions. My approach is to communicate and be honest with my patients. I have to gain their trust. My goal is patient satisfaction.
3W: I’ve heard that even other corneal specialists refer their patients who need corneal surgery to you?
Dr. Helm: I trained as a corneal specialist and have every intent of maintaining and improving my skills. The other doctors know that so they send their patients to me.
3W: But the patients are the ones who benefit from your dedication.
Dr. Helm: Yes. The latest techniques are not easy to master but once you do master them, they are masterful
for the patient. The recovery times are extraordinarily short and the results are astounding. By way of example; we had a lady who was actually blind in one eye. We did a corneal transplant for her and it was the first time she could see in 15 years. She had tears of joy in her eyes when she left our office, in fact we all did. What we do for people is so rewarding not just for our patients but for our entire staff.
This is a labor of love for me. Patients depend on their doctors to perfect their skills through practice and repetition and I fully intend to help my patients by staying on top of my game.
Helm Vision Group
27420 Tourney Road, Suite 100
Valencia, CA 91355