The Importance of Having a Vision

Founded by Dr. Mark Cohen and Dr. Avi Wallerstein in 2001, LASIK MD is Canada’s leading provider of laser vision correction, accounting for more than half of the Canadian market share. With over 30 locations across the country and 600 employees, LASIK MD is Canada’s only national LASIK provider.

LASIK MD’s team of over 50 surgeons performs more than 75,000 laser vision correction procedures each year, unmatched by any other vision correction provider in North America. LASIK MD has established itself as one of the premier LASIK centres in the world.

Surgeons Are the Key to Success

LASIK MD attributes much of its success and growth in the marketplace to its dedicated and well-trained surgeons. These surgeons are leaders in their field, with many having academic affiliations at medical schools in their communities and prominent clinical practices. Each surgeon completed undergraduate studies, medical school, five years of ophthalmology residency, and many with further subspecialty fellowships. This is followed by advanced specialized training in laser eye surgery. The rigorous LASIK MD proprietary curriculum involves standardized observerships, proctorships, and mentorships with a yearly didactic course. The 50 surgeons work as a cohesive group, sharing their collective clinical knowledge on an ongoing basis, benefiting from being in constant communication. This practice is looked upon as the model for future medical care in all fields.

LASIK MD doctors are true experts due to the high volume of surgeries they perform. Based on the group’s vast experience, they establish standardized protocols and best practices in each clinic. This unique way of practicing medicine leads to unsurpassed clinical outcomes and safety across the country. LASIK MD was the first to implement operating room checklists in Canada over a decade ago, with its own dedicated risk management department.

“LASIK MD eye surgeons are among the most highly trained and experienced in the world, having collectively performed over 750,000 procedures,” says Dr. Wallerstein, Co-National Medical Director with Dr. Cohen. “LASIK MD also offers the highest level of standardization, which results in improved procedure safety and excellent outcomes. All of our patients benefit from the knowledge of our 50 surgeons.”

The organization is also entirely surgeon owned, something Dr. Mark Cohen credits for much of its success.

“We want our surgeons to be involved as much as possible in how the clinics are run,” says Dr. Cohen. “Our surgeons have an impact in our decision-making process and that has a very positive result in the way we operate our clinics, and ultimately in the overall satisfaction of our patients.”

Making LASIK Affordable

LASIK MD began operations in May 2001. Dr. Cohen and Dr. Wallerstein opened the first two clinics in Mississauga and Montreal with the intent of making laser vision correction accessible to everyone. The business model was straight forward: offer the highest standard of medical care at an affordable price. The simple concept has proven to be a huge success.

“High quality and affordability haven’t traditionally gone together, but LASIK MD has become the role model for high quality, affordable healthcare,” says Dr. Wallerstein. “People now recognize that price is not what determines your clinical outcome, but that price is an arbitrary number that is set by a physician’s philosophy in a solo or group practice. A 10 minute procedure doesn’t need to cost a fortune.”

Dr. Wallerstein says LASIK MD’s high volume is another key ingredient to its winning recipe.

“As North America’s largest LASIK provider, we’re able to continually reinvest in the most advanced technology for less,” he says. “We then pass these savings on to our patients, along with other efficiencies and economies of scale.”

But high volume doesn’t just lead to lower prices, according to Dr. Wallerstein, he says it results in better patient outcomes.

“Our surgeons are able to gain valuable experience, because they’re performing a lot of procedures,” says Dr. Wallerstein. “This level of experience makes you an expert surgeon; combine that with the collective knowledge of the group, and the clinical outcomes are unsurpassed.”

Performing 75,000 surgeries a year also allows LASIK MD to invest in a custom, state-of-the-art, electronic medical records system, a risk management team and an in-house research and development department.

“These are levels of service that I was not able to provide as a solo or group practitioner,” Dr. Wallerstein adds.

More Than Just LASIK

LASIK MD is dedicated to using the most advanced technologies and laser vision correction techniques to ensure the best possible results. By offering the latest clinically proven technologies, LASIK MD ensures consistent, effective results tied with exceptional patient satisfaction and customer service.

Despite it being in the name, LASIK isn’t the only treatment performed at LASIK MD clinics. Cataract MD was launched in 2005. This service offers cataract and refractive lens exchange surgeries, ideal for older patients who are not candidates for laser vision correction. Additionally, LASIK MD has branched into other ocular services, including corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL), a treatment for patients with keratoconus.

A degenerative eye disorder, keratoconus causes the cornea to thin and bulge into a cone-like shape. As a result, those suffering from keratoconus often experience severe vision distortion which then increases the difficulty of everyday habits like reading or driving. Estimates are that keratoconus affects one in 500 people.

Many people who suffer from keratoconus are able to manage their poor vision symptoms with glasses or rigid contact lenses.

“But corrective lenses will not prevent the progression of the disease so we want to do more for the patient,” says Dr. Cohen. “CXL has been proven to be the only treatment capable of stopping or slowing the progression of the disorder.”

Given the successful launch of this service in 2009, LASIK MD then began offering CXL combined with T-PRK, a laser treatment which helps to reduce the vision distortion caused by keratoconus.

“The aim of this combined procedure is to also reduce the patient’s dependency on glasses or contacts,” Dr. Cohen says. “They will still require contacts or glasses, but their vision with and without them will be much better.”

Looking to the Future

In an extension of its medical services offering, LASIK MD continues to grow in the laser vision correction industry, as well as other fields of medicine. This year the company launched its affiliate, Refresh MD, which specializes in medical aesthetic treatments. Beginning in Montreal, Refresh MD has already grown to three locations and a rollout to all 30 clinics is under way.

“LASIK MD wants to continue to be a leader in the laser vision correction field, but also to evolve to become more than just a LASIK company,” Dr. Cohen concludes. “We see ourselves continuing to branch out into other areas of medicine, while maintaining the same philosophies which have garnered so much success for LASIK MD over the last 10-plus years.”