Ophthalmologists throughout the region are performing a variety of procedures they say are new. But Dr. Luis W. Lu, one of the region’s most experienced and trusted ophthalmologists, was the first in the region to offer many of those procedures – and his new associate, Dr. Brett Karlik, has years of experience performing other highly-specialized procedures.
“Elk County Eye Clinic has long been one of the most progressive practices in the region,” said Gregory P. Bauer, the President and CEO of Elk Regional Health System. “Dr. Lu has a reputation for being the first to begin performing the ground-breaking procedures our patients need to improve their vision and quality of life. I am confident that Dr. Karlik will continue that tradition.”
The Elk County Eye Clinic is the only ophthalmologic group in the region to offer a procedure called corneal cross-linking, a procedure that uses ultraviolet light and eye drops containing Vitamin B2 to treat keratoconus, a disease that causes the cornea to degenerate.
“Keratoconus is a disease that reshapes the front part of a patient’s eye into a cone shape, which makes it very difficult for the patient to see,” Dr. Lu said. “In its most severe stages, the disease can prevent people from doing things like reading or driving. We are the only ones in the region to offer this treatment, which is simple and highly successful.”
Dr. Lu was the first ophthalmologist in central Pennsylvania to offer glaucoma stents, a procedure that uses small tubes to safely relieve pressure in the eyes of patients suffering from the disease. Now, that procedure has become very popular for the treatment of advanced glaucoma.
Dr. Lu and Dr. Karlik were among the first to use bi-aspheric lenses to treat patients with cataracts.
Cataracts cause the eye’s lens to become cloudy, preventing it from focusing light and producing clear images. Dr. Lu and Dr. Karlik can remove the cloudy lens and replace it with what is called a “bi-aspheric lens,” which mimics the eye’s natural focusing ability.
“This is a very effective European technology that has become popular in the United States,” Dr. Lu said. “Bi-aspheric lenses provide patients with sharper vision and very little distortion.”
In 1995, Dr. Lu became one of the first ophthalmologists in the region to perform a procedure called photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK – the forerunner to the more familiar LASIK laser eye surgery. Using PRK, Dr. Lu and Dr. Karlik use lasers to reshape a patient’s cornea, allowing for clearer vision and reducing or eliminating the need for corrective lenses.
“Laser refractive vision correction is extremely safe, effective, and life-changing,” Dr. Karlik said. “Few things are as rewarding as seeing a patient who has worn glasses for past 10, 20, or 30 years go spectacle-free.”
Dr. Karlik also specializes in a cutting-edge procedure called selective laser trabeculoplasty, or SLT, a procedure that uses low-level laser energy to selectively treat specific cells and leave untreated portions of the eye intact. SLT is an alternate possibility for those who have been treated unsuccessfully with traditional laser surgery or with pressure lowering eye drops. The Elk County Eye Clinic has been using SLT since 2005.
Elk County Eye Clinic is one of the few in the region to offer treatment for wet macular degeneration, a chronic eye disease that results in vision loss caused by blood vessels leaking into the center of the retina. Dr. Lu and Dr. Karlik can treat these abnormal blood vessels with a drug that will cause them to shrink, helping restore vision. The Clinic is also studying research about a new treatment for dry geographic macular degeneration.
Dr. Lu was also among the first in the region to perform a procedure known as Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty, or DSEK – a landmark advancement in endothelial cell corneal transplantation that can dramatically improve and restore vision in patients with certain corneal diseases. The Clinic also offers Amniotic Membrane Transplant for diseases of the eye.
For more information on procedures offered by Dr. Lu and Dr. Karlik, or about The Elk County Eye Clinic, visit them online. To schedule an appointment, call The Elk County Eye Clinic at (814) 781-3435 or toll free at (800) 921-EYES (3937).
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