We truly believe in a comprehensive approach to the health of the eye, which includes routine eye examinations. We diagnose and treat medical conditions affecting health and vision, so that you can see as clearly as possible. If you have a need for glasses or contacts, we provide these service, and it is even more important to routinely watch the health of your eyes. You may also need scheduled checks based on age, medical history, or underlying eye conditions, even if your prescription has not changed.
To ensure good eye health and vision, we are very proud to include the following services:
Lasik Surgery / PRK
A free consultation appointment is available to evaluate you for laser vision correction surgery. LASIK or PRK surgery are among the best options to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism and help patients see clearly without glasses. At Polaris Eye & Laser, Dr. Jeehee Kim fully manages her patient’s care throughout the procedure and all follow up appointments.
Patients are made comfortable during surgery, and numbing eye drops are given. In LASIK surgery, a very thin outer layer of the cornea is surgically separated from the underlying corneal tissue. This flap is folded out of the way, so that the tissue immediately beneath the corneal surface, the stroma, can be accessed. As Dr. Kim views the eye through the microscope, she will then use a specialized laser, the excimer laser, to gradually reshape corneal stroma tissue. The exact quantity of corneal tissue to be removed is predetermined based upon the patient’s unique eye conditions. Finally, the flap is placed back in position. In most cases, no stitches are needed, and the corneal flap will adhere itself to the eye again quickly. PRK uses the same excimer laser to reshape the stroma, after surface cells are removed with a special brush. Contact lenses and eye drops reduce irritation after PRK surgery, while surface cells grow back naturally.
Laser candidates must be at least 21 years old. The prescription must be within the range of -1.00 to -11.00 diopters for nearsighted patients and +5.00 diopters or less for farsighted patients and patients with astigmatism. People who opt for surgery should have a stable vision prescription for a minimum of a year before the surgery, and eyes should be overall healthy and free of disease. Dr. Kim offers a free consultation to review whether you are a good candidate for laser vision correction.
Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens in the eye, making your vision appear to be foggy. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over 40 and are the leading cause of blindness in the world.
Your eyes are meant to naturally adjust to normal light changes, adjust focus, and allow us to see both near and far. Your lens is primarily made up of water and proteins. The proper arrangement of these proteins is what contributes to normal vision. Some of these proteins clump together forming a clouding of the lens.request an appointment
Botox offers a non-invasive way to achieve a more youthful and attractive appearance. Whether the problem is fine lines or deep folds, Botox injections will last somewhere around 3-6 months, depending on how well your body reacts to the injection. Botox may also be indicated as treatment for medical conditions, such as involuntary muscle spasm.
Botox treats dynamic lines, the ones resulting from muscle movement. There are three main areas where dynamic lines appear. The vertical lines between the brows is one of the most popular areas for Botox treatment. Over the years, these lines may stay in place even when a person is not frowning, but Botox can relax the muscles and smooth the wrinkles away. The second common area for Botox is the brow lines. These horizontal lines tend to extend across the forehead and are most visible when a person raises their eyebrows. These lines are often very thin and fine, but they can become more deeply ingrained over time. Botox can smooth this type of wrinkle away completely. Finally, crow’s feet, lines near the temples, are often treated with Botox. Crow’s feet form when squinting or smiling. They become more prominent as a person ages, but it is possible to relax these muscles with Botox and erase the wrinkles.
Blepharitis is a common condition caused by the buildup of natural oils and bacteria at the base of the eyelashes. Some symptoms may include burning, inflamed, and irritated eyes. In addition, flakes will appear at the base of the eyelashes.
Here at Polaris Eye & Laser, Inc, we will provide you with different treatment options to control the symptoms of Blepharitis. Unfortunately, since there is no cure for the condition it is best to contact us so we can do a thorough examination and determine the best options for you to relieve and minimize the frequency of symptoms.request an appointment
Glaucoma is a serious eye condition and a leading cause of blindness. Glaucoma occurs when fluids inside the eye fail to drain normally, which may be caused by a number of different factors. Our highly trained doctors will screen, diagnose, monitor, review the severity and help you manage glaucoma.
Early detection of glaucoma is crucial to prevent vision loss and blindness. And there are several treatment methods for glaucoma that vary depending on the cause, stage and severity for each individual patient.
Why Does Glaucoma Develop?
Glaucoma happens because the aqueous humor, the fluid inside the anterior chamber of the eye, fails to drain properly. With this overly slow draining of fluid, pressure sets in and causes damage to the optic nerve. Since the optic nerve is critical in the transmission of all visual signals, this damage can result in poor vision or even blindness.
Who is at Risk for Developing Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is most common in people over the age of 40, and it occurs even more commonly after age 60. Some races are more likely to develop glaucoma, most notably African American and Hispanic people. Additionally, glaucoma appears to have a genetic link in some cases. If one of a person’s parents has glaucoma, their risk of developing the condition is likely to be elevated.
What are the Indicators of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a particularly worrisome condition because it often causes no obvious signs until it is highly advanced. Once the glaucoma is in its advanced stages, the sufferer may realize that their peripheral vision is fading away. Eventually, this can turn into total blindness without treatment. Because of this, it is essential for people to have yearly eye examinations. Dr. Kim at Polaris Eye & Laser has the training and the knowledge needed to spot the indicators of glaucoma, which will allow for the earliest possible treatment.
How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
Glaucoma diagnosis is made by taking a series of measurements over time. An exam may include visual acuity testing, peripheral vision testing, close-up exam of the retina and optic nerve, measurement of intraocular eye pressure, and measurement of corneal thickness. High eye intraocular pressure readings over time are a common basis for glaucoma diagnosis.
How is Glaucoma Treated?
The treatment of glaucoma depends on the individual and on how advanced the condition is. While there is no glaucoma cure, there are many ways that the condition can be managed effectively. The progression of glaucoma can be greatly slowed or stopped completely with the right treatment. Some of the possible treatments include prescription eye drops, laser, and surgical corrections. Dr. Kim also performs “iStent” surgery, a secondary implant procedure during cataract surgery, to treat glaucoma.
Dry Eye Treatment
Polaris Eye & Laser is proud to customize dry eye treatment each patient. Dry eye symptoms may arise from certain medications, naturally by aging, or as a symptom arising from systemic disease. Symptoms range from irritation, excessive tearing, fluctuating vision, and/or a burning sensation in the eyes. Left untreated, these symptoms have the potential to damage eye tissue, scar the cornea and impair vision.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a condition that happens when the thin layer of tears (the tear film) is not present in the eyes. The tear film is responsible for protecting the eye surface and helping to keep the vision clear. Dry eye symptoms show up in different ways. Many people who have dry eye will have redness, discomfort, or even watery eyes when they suffer from dry eye syndrome. While watery eyes may seem like an odd symptom for dry eye syndrome, the tears generated when eyes water are not normal tear film but are rather a reaction to the pain or irritation caused by the dryness. Many people who suffer from dry eye syndrome experience sensitivity to light, as well. In severe cases of dry eye, blurry vision can occur.
Why Do People Suffer from Dry Eye?
Dry eye can develop for a number of reasons. As people grow older, they are more likely to develop this condition. People who wear contact lenses may become sensitive to dry eye symptoms and are more likely to require treatment for dry eye. People who suffer from allergies may also be more likely to have dry eye. Dry eye is also a symptom of some eye diseases, such as Sjogren’s syndrome, so it is very important that patients get checked if they experience dry eyes on a regular basis. Ectropion, a condition that causes the eyelid to turn outward, causes the surface of the eye to be exposed to too much air and may result in dry eye.
What is the Treatment for Dry Eye?
Treatment for dry eye is customized based on the patient’s symptoms and the underlying causes. Many patients achieve dry eye relief with prescription eye medicine that stimulates tear production. For others, prescription eye drops resolve symptoms by restoring a proper tear film. An ophthalmologist can place a miniature plug designed to stay in the punctum, the small hole that drains excess tear fluid from the eye, so the eye surface will retain more moisture. In other cases, a patient may need a minor surgical correction that will allow the eyelids to function normally. This, in turn, will keep the eyes properly lubricated and end dry eye symptoms. Dr. Kim will recommend and perform treatments right for you.
Diabetic Eye Exams
Diabetic eye disease can cause vision loss or blindness if left unresolved. You may be referred to an ophthalmologist to monitor or treat this specific concern, whether you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Dr. Jeehee Kim will provide a comprehensive evaluation and management of this essential part of your health.
Diabetic patients have an increased chance of developing many other illnesses, including serious eye problems. Diabetic eye disease is a fairly common problem among people with diabetes, but it can be treated as long as it is diagnosed early enough. People who are diagnosed with diabetes need to schedule an eye exam right away and should then continue to have exams on a yearly basis. Diabetic patients who already have eye problems may need to have their eyes checked more often than that.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetes mellitus affects blood sugar, and sensitive blood vessels in the body. For the eye, blood vessels in the nerve cells in the back of the eye may be damaged, reducing the normal transmission of signals to the brain. This diabetes-caused damage is known as diabetic retinopathy. Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy is an early stage of this condition, usually present even before vision is affected. Diabetic retinopathy is a leading reason that people lose their vision in the United States.
What Happens During a Diabetic Eye Exam?
Diabetic eye exams typically begin with a test of visual acuity. This involves reading letters on an eye chart until they become too small to see. Other tests typically include an eye muscle movement test, a cover test to check how the eyes work in unison, and a test to measure pupil reaction to light. The cornea, iris, lens, and back part of the eyes are all checked using a biomicroscope. In a dilation eye exam, the pupils are dilated so that Dr. Kim can use an ophthalmoscope to get an inner view of the retina, blood vessels, vitreous fluid, and the top part of the optic nerve.
How is Diabetic Eye Disease Treated?
If diabetic eye disease is discovered during the eye exam, Dr. Kim will prescribe treatment based on the specific disease and the patient’s symptoms. Sometimes diabetic retinopathy can be treated with anti-VEGF injections (Avastin) a biosimilar or other injection such as Eylea, or laser treatment. Dr. Kim will customize treatment for diabetic patients so they can maintain good vision for the long term.
Macular degeneration is a deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them through the optic nerve from the eye to the brain for processing. The macula, or the center of the retina, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye and controls our ability to see and process information.request an appointment
Glasses and Contacts
Many people are very confused when it comes to choosing the correct glasses. It can be hard to tell what looks best on your face, while also staying within your budget (and insurance). You also want to be comfortable in the glasses that you choose.
Nowadays, most people prefer to wear contacts instead of glasses. If you are interested in contact lenses, please let your eye doctor know prior to your appointment. During your exam, we will discuss the various contact lenses available and determine the best option based on your individual needs and lifestyle.
Corneal Transplant Surgery Specialist
The cornea is the transparent surface tissue of the eye, essential to keeping proper focus. When the cornea is injured, diseased, or defective, vision is seriously impaired. Corneal transplant surgery corrects this problem with the surgical placement of donor cornea tissue. Dr. Jeehee Kim is experienced with this procedure.
Patients who suffer from conditions that cause permanent cloudiness or distortion of the cornea will often have poor vision or even blindness. This type of patient may be an ideal candidate for outpatient corneal transplant surgery. One common reason for corneal transplant is Fuchs’ corneal endothelial dystrophy. Some people experience corneal edema after having cataract surgery, and a corneal transplant can be the best solution. Patients who have corneal scars due to infections within the cornea may also be good candidates for this type of surgery. People who suffer from keratoconus, a disease that results in major corneal distortion, often benefit from corneal transplant as well. Not every person is a good candidate for this surgery. Dr. Kim at Polaris Eye & Laser will work with each patient to make sure that they understand their suitability for a transplant and will offer effective alternatives if corneal transplant surgery is not recommended.
Where Does the Replacement Cornea Come From?
The replacement cornea comes from a recently deceased registered or lawful donor. Every donor cornea is thoroughly examined and screened for disease and reviewed by Dr. Kim before being selected for a recipient. Details about the cornea donor are not available for privacy reasons.
How is the Corneal Transplant Surgery Done?
There are several types of corneal transplant which vary in scope and technique: Penetrating keratoplasty (PK), Descemet’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) and Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK). In PK surgery, a circular full-thickness section of the old cornea is removed and replaced with a healthy donor cornea which is secured with ultra-fine sutures. PK surgery is often used in cases where all the layers of the cornea are diseased. In DSAEK surgery, only the patient’s damaged endothelial layer is isolated and removed since the patient’s remaining corneal tissue is still healthy. A thin layer of donor corneal tissue that contains the healthy, endothelial layer is inserted onto the back side of the patient’s cornea. This is often the corneal transplant surgery used for patients with corneal edema due to diseases that impact the deepest corneal layer. DMEK surgery is the most recent and advanced form of partial-thickness corneal transplant surgery, indicated for diseases affecting only the innermost, endothelial layer of the cornea. Only a thin layer of Descemet’s membrane and endothelium is replaced in DMEK surgery, allowing for an exact anatomical replacement of the damaged cells. No sutures are used, as a specialized air bubble technique will secure the new corneal tissue. Because less corneal tissue is affected, the recovery from DMEK is often faster and easier with a decreased rate of rejection.
Several conditions affecting the innermost layer of the cornea are best suited for DMEK:
- Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy
- Bullous keratopathy
- Failed previous corneal transplants
- Posterior polymorphous membrane dystrophy
- Congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy
- Iridocorneal endothelial (ICE) syndrome
Dr. Kim is a fellowship-trained corneal specialist who has extensive experience in performing all forms of corneal surgery. She can guide you to the appropriate treatment option by detecting exactly which layers of the cornea are affected, whether it’s the outer layer, inner layers, or the entire cornea. Dr. Kim is pleased to review PK, DSAEK, or DMEK procedures with you if a transplant surgery is indicated. She utilizes the latest diagnostic treatment technology and the most advanced transplant techniques to customize a treatment for you and optimize your surgical outcome. If you have corneal disease, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kim in Los Gatos, California today. Please contact our office with any questions.
Comprehensive Eye Exam
Eye Examinations Specialist
Eye examinations should be done at once a year depending on your age and conditions, and for patients with serious or chronic eye problems the visits may need to be more frequent. Whether a new examination or a check-up, this is an opportunity for you to maintain the best possible vision. Your eye examination can sometimes be coordinated under your medical insurance or your vision plan. Call or request an eye exam online at Polaris Eye & Laser.
Most people should have their eyes examined once a year, or once every other year if the eyes are healthy. People who are at risk for problems like glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy should adhere to a strict schedule of yearly check-ups. People who already suffer from eye problems may need to see the eye doctor more often. Children need to have their vision checked as a newborn, and at all regular doctor visits. When a child is school age, they should have regular yearly check-ups with the eye doctor. Dr. Kim and the team at Polaris Eye & Laser will be happy to help patients schedule exams at the right intervals for them.
What Happens During an Eye Exam?
During an eye exam, Dr. Kim will review the patient’s medical history and vision history with them. In most cases, multiple eye tests will be performed during an initial exam, including an eye muscle movement test, a cover test to check how the eyes work in unison, and a test to measure pupil reaction to light. The cornea, iris, eye lens, and back part of the eyes are all checked using a biomicroscope. In a dilation exam, the pupils are dilated so that Dr. Kim can use an ophthalmoscope to get an in-depth view of the retina, blood vessels, vitreous fluid, and the top of the optic nerve. After testing is over, the patient’s prescription can be determined.
How is a Prescription for Vision Correction Determined?
To get a patient’s prescription, our doctor will start with a visual acuity test. During this test, the patient will read letters on the eye chart until they can’t see them any longer. This gives the doctor some information as to where to begin with determining lens prescriptions. A computerized refractor is typically used to determine the exact prescription needed. The patient will let the doctor know which lenses work best as she flips through different options. This process is done separately for each eye, as many people need a different level of vision correction in each eye. We will discuss vision correction options and help patients determine which will work best for them
Pterygium Surgery Specialist
What is a Pterygium?
A pterygium is a buildup of scar tissue within the cornea, the normally clear tissue on the eye surface. Many people who develop a pterygium say that it feels like something is caught in their eye constantly. A pterygium often causes itchiness, red eyes, and a burning sensation in the eyes. In a very severe pterygium, the cornea can become distorted, possible causing irregular astigmatism. If the pterygium is large enough to threaten sight or grows rapidly, is should be removed surgically.
There are several possible causes for pterygiums, including excessive exposure to UV light and living in a dusty or windy area.
What is the Treatment for a Pterygium?
If a pterygium causes chronic pain, shows growth, or produces a changing astigmatism, the best treatment is usually pterygium removal surgery. In this surgery, the pterygium is completely removed while the patient is under local anesthesia, and mild IV sedation may be used as well. While patients are awake during the surgery, they will be fully relaxed and not in any pain. Once Dr. Kim removes the pterygium surgically, healthy tissue can be grafted to the area where the pterygium was. This healthy tissue will become part of the eye and will greatly lower the chance of pterygium recurrence. A skillful surgeon can help reduce the chances of the condition growing back. Dr. Kim also successfully removes a Pterygium in-office under a local anesthesia.
What is the Recovery Process After Pterygium Surgery?
Patients should arrange for a friend or family member to drive them home following the pterygium surgery. Dr. Kim will give patients post-surgery instructions to help them heal as rapidly and easily as possible. This will include resting the eyes for a day or two, and using prescribed eye drops for 3-4 weeks. Although the eyes are often slightly red or swollen for a couple of weeks, this is normal after pterygium surgery and will resolve naturally. Patients must normally wait at least a couple of weeks after pterygium surgery to resume the use of contact lenses, but eyeglasses can be used as normal. Somewhere around 3-6 weeks after the pterygium surgery, patients will notice that the eyes feel normal again and that the discomfort or pain is finally gone.