Part I: Military Experience
As soon as I embarked on my path to opening a laser eye center, I began to reflect on what would make my practice special. There are plenty of places that patients can go to have laser eye surgery in the greater Philadelphia area, so why open a new location? What value can I offer patients that will set Corsini Laser Eye Center apart?
The answer is threefold: the wisdom of eight years of military experience, the best technology on the planet, and boutique, highly personalized care. This post will touch on the first pillar—my Air Force service.
Military refractive surgery is a remarkable field that gets to the heart of laser vision correction’s purpose: READINESS. Those familiar with the armed forces know that Readiness is the ultimate goal of the military unit. Can this Wing, Squadron, Flight, Element, or individual member deploy to an austere environment on a moment’s notice and accomplish the Mission?
Imagine a medic deployed to Iraq in 2008. An IED explosion throws her body to the ground, and she sustains multiple injuries. Luckily, none of them are life-threatening. Except her glasses shattered in the blast, and she can’t make out the face of her wingman three feet away who needs emergency care. If only her vision were clear enough to locate his wound and apply the tourniquet…
What about the security forces Airman who, after a long day patrolling the base, sleeps in his contacts and needs a medical evacuation to Germany for vision-saving care by an ophthalmologist?
Now, imagine that these members had LASIK before their deployment.
These scenarios may seem dramatic, but drama is the status quo in the deployed setting. It’s no wonder, then, that refractive surgery like SMILE, LASIK, and PRK is a covered benefit to all servicemembers with at least six months of deployability. So, what is the heart of military refractive surgery? Readiness: the ability to do your job whenever, wherever, or however the Mission requires.
This is the culture in which I learned refractive surgery. I didn’t have to worry about how to process payments, market, or network with referring providers. I simply had to focus on providing exceptional surgery to exceptional humans.
Now, as a civilian business owner, I have the privilege to manage my accounting, marketing, and professional relationships. This is a good thing. But I feel blessed that I FIRST learned my craft in the crucible of active-duty service, and this experience has guided my business and patient care practices outside the military in the following ways:
- Treat every patient the same: from Airmen First Class to Four-Star Generals, I always treated every patient with the same compassion, respect, and attention to detail. In the civilian world, I adhere to the same tenet. Every patient receives a boutique, highly personalized evaluation, surgery, and aftercare. I offer my personal cell phone number to all surgery patients, and my goal is more than just 20/20 vision: it’s happy patients.
- No fine print: Military communication is clear, concise, and requires closed-loop feedback, not asterisks and exclusions. The same should go with elective eye surgery, but that is not the case all too often. “$999/eye! Everyone qualifies*!” Only after you’ve scheduled your consultation do you find out that the asterisk meant the deal only applied to certain patients with certain prescriptions who elected certain surgeries. Not in my practice. Regardless of your income, prescription, or surgery, we charge the same simple, all-inclusive price. Period.
- Prioritize efficiency: Military leaders constantly strive to reduce waste and abuse. Redundancies and inefficiencies are mission-killers. To that end, I aim to make the patient experience at Corsini Laser Eye Center as streamlined as possible. Many surgery centers require two pre-operative appointments, and you may see your surgeon at only one or possibly neither of these visits. I respect my patients’ time, so I offer a single, comprehensive pre-operative exam where I discuss your surgical options and answer all your questions. We even provide same-day surgery for those who are ready to go!
- Clarity of focus: Military units rely on specialty expertise to complete the Mission. A helicopter pilot, a sharpshooter, and a trauma surgeon all have laser focus when performing their highly specialized tasks. Similarly, we at Corsini Laser Eye Center are laser-focused on providing the best refractive surgery on the planet. SMILE, LASIK, and PRK: laser eye surgery is all we do. I performed these same three surgeries every week on military members from all over the globe, and now I offer the same services to the people of greater Philadelphia and beyond. There are many other aspects of ophthalmology – and medicine at large – that I like, but refractive surgery is what I love. Gifting the miracle of glasses-free vision: it’s all we do.
- Leverage technology: One of the greatest benefits of practicing medicine in the military was my access to superior technology. Lack of training, lack of funds, or lack of desire can all contribute toward an organization’s failure to leverage the best possibility technology for its customers. Luckily, none of these proved to be a barrier to the military refractive surgery centers that purchased the Visumax500 and EX500 lasers. The former is the only FDA-approved laser for SMILE, a.k.a. flapless LASIK. The latter offers the best custom treatments on the market. Together, these two machines are the crème de la crème of laser eye surgery, and they are the only lasers I use at Corsini Laser Eye Center.
I am blessed to have honed my surgery, patient care, and leadership skills during active-duty Air Force service. Now, I am elated to offer all my expertise to nonmilitary members, too. See for yourself what sets us apart by scheduling a free, no-hassle consultation. I look forward to it!
Jonathan Corsini, MD