We at Valley Eye Associates are committed to providing top-tier eye care that both improves vision health and furthers the ophthalmologic field. But this commitment is meaningless without you, our wonderful patients, and it is because of you that we are honored to be named this year’s Best of the Valley and Best of Winnebago County in several categories:

  • Best of the Valley Eye Care Clinic
  • Best of the Valley Eye Care Professional
  • Best of the Valley LASIK Surgery Center
  • Best of Winnebago County LASIK Surgery Center

Every day, we strive to create long lasting relationships with patients that are built upon trust and a dedication to clear vision. We’re extremely thankful that you have allowed us to join you on your eye care journey, but we’re especially blessed to share in your lives; the stories you describe and your devotion to eye health fill us with joy and admiration.

For 16 consecutive years in the Valley and 6 consecutive years in Winnebago County, we have been awarded the Best of the Best, sponsored by Appleton Post Crescent and Oshkosh Northwestern. We consider these awards a tremendous honor. As we embark on another year with our incredible patients and team, we look forward to continuing relationships and bettering vision.

If someone asked, would you recommend having LASIK at Valley Eye Associates?

Yes, I would direct them to come to Valley Eye Associates to get that VIP Consultation, because it’s where you’re going to get all of your questions answered. The whole process is such a breeze that it’s really worth it to me. Even when comparing the cost measures of your glasses or contacts against the price of LASIK, it all comes together and works out in the end for your favor. I’d really highly recommend this to anybody.

Why did you choose to have LASIK at Valley Eye Associates?

Seeing the experience that Dr. Vrabec has as one of the first, if not the first, doctor in the area to do LASIK in addition to being so highly recommended is amazing. That’s really what stood out about Valley Eye Associates. Dr. Vrabec’s experience, knowledge, and level of comfort. Out of everyone I know that has ever come to Valley Eye Associates, nobody has said one bad word. That’s really amazing if you think about it.

Since having LASIK, how has your life changed?

It’s been a week at this point since I’ve had LASIK, and my life has already changed for the better. Just from the fact of not having to worry about glasses and contacts and things like that. There’s also the ease of shaving a couple of minutes off every morning, plus being able to see better. I can see better now than I did with my glasses. That is a real fact and that’s pretty incredible and, again, it’s because of Valley Eye Associates. I mean, you can’t go wrong with this place. There’s no doubt about it — Dr. Vrabec is hands down the best around.

Remember as a kid having a piggy bank that you tucked loose pennies and dimes into? On a really good day, there may have been a whole dollar to press through the slot. Over time, those contributions added up — and so did the ways you imagined spending them.

The same happens with your health savings or flexible spending account. Little by little your monthly contributions can build toward a tangible goal, either covering the cost or putting it within easy reach.

Is LASIK among your goals? Many of our patients have used their HSA or FSAs to finally get the vision correction they’ve dreamed of, and with the whole year still ahead, there’s no better time to start planning than January.

Consultation First

In a few instances patients aren’t good candidates for laser eye correction so we strongly recommend that you contact our office to schedule an initial consultation to ensure that you’re eligible. That said, because LASIK isn’t our only tool — there are a myriad of options — it’s rare that we can’t improve your vision. It’s advantageous for us both when together we formulate a best case plan before you begin earmarking your hard-earned dollars.

Covering the Cost

If you’ve considered LASIK or another laser eye treatment, it’s likely you already know that, because it’s discretionary, you’ll need to pay for it out of pocket.

This is where the HSA or FSA offered by your employer’s health insurance plan can help take the sting out of the final bill. Contributions to both are taken pre-tax, which means the government can’t take its usual cut, and you can save up to 20% more.

Generally, an HSA:

  • comes with health plans classified as high deductible.
  • can accrue as long as you wish; there’s no pressure to spend by year end.
  • could cover the entire cost of LASIK if you contribute long enough.

Generally, an FSA:

  • must be spent within a month of year end or you lose those dollars.
  • is spendable before all contributions have been made. In other words, if you budget to contribute $1,500 by December, but decide to have LASIK in June with only $750 of the $1,500 in your account, you can still spend the full $1,500.
  • is capped per family member. It’s $2,750 for 2021.

Because there’s much more to know about utilizing the HSA or FSA benefits that come with your work’s health insurance plan, we encourage you to discuss your options with your employer’s insurance representative. It can be confusing; however, understanding the basics could mean the difference between clear vision now and slogging through another year with eye concerns.

Let’s Get Started

Schedule your nocost, no obligation consultation today. Our friendly staff will assess your needs, explain your best options, and create a plan that fits your specific lifestyle and schedule.

We are all making changes to adapt to social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Some changes make things more convenient and are likely to continue even past the virus outbreak. One of these is telehealth.

What is Telehealth?

It is the ability to deliver healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications technology. We call these “virtual visits.” When it is difficult or inconvenient for you to come to our office, we can schedule a telehealth visit with one of the doctors or technicians to evaluate your condition and provide treatment options.

Telehealth Services

We can provide the following services through a virtual visit with a doctor:

  • Emergency and urgent eye care needs (vision loss, red eyes, dry eyes, painful or sore eyes, flashing lights, floaters)
  • New patient and follow-up care for cornea, lens, and retina conditions (keratoconus, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration)
  • Second opinions for patients and doctors (MDs and ODs)
  • Virtual Free VIP Consultations for vision correction (LASIK and custom lens replacement).

How to Connect to a Telehealth Call

Please try to connect five minutes prior to your appointment time in case of any issues. Here are some tips for getting the best connection for your appointment:

  1. Find a quiet, private, distraction-free space
  2. Use a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a good internet connection and a webcam
  3. You will need to use Chrome, Safari, or Firefox web browsers
  4. Make sure to “allow” access to the audio and video on your device

More questions? Learn more about our telehealth program here.

A health savings account (HSA) or a flex spending account (FSA) is one of the best ways to save courtesy of Uncle Sam with triple tax benefits. You put money in on a tax-free basis (usually through salary deferrals), it builds up tax-free (you can invest it), and it comes out tax-free to cover out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. Depending on your tax bracket, that can save you 20% or more on eyeglasses, contacts, or even medical procedures like LASIK or High Definition Laser Cataract Surgery.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

You can contribute to an HSA if you’re in a qualifying high-deductible health plan at work. For 2020, that means a plan with a minimum annual deductible of $1,400 for individual coverage or $2,800 for family coverage. At a minimum, you should contribute enough to cover your deductible. Do you have an unexpected doctor’s bill? You can put money into your HSA, take it out right away, and the government just paid 25% of the bill. (The higher your tax bracket, the bigger your savings.) An HSA is a savings account that goes with you and funds stay in the account as long as it is open.

Flex Spending Account (FSA)

FSAs are a great way to pay for elective and non-elective procedures and cover deductibles and co-payments for medical services and prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs that have been prescribed by a doctor, all pre-tax. The funds from an FSA can be used toward the payment of certain authorized dental and vision expenses, including for dependents and spouses. So, depending on your tax bracket, that could end up being major savings! The only problem is that you have to use your FSA balance by the end of the year or risk losing it. So if you have an FSA, be sure to check your balance and then look at your options for an eye exam, vision correction surgery or even eyeglasses before the end of the year.

The good news is that consumers can save ($2,700 per person in an FSA) and even save more in an HSA depending on your plan, to pay for procedures you want. Think of this as an opportunity to access the procedures you need and save 20% or more by using flex spending or health savings account dollars.

Why Is This Important?

Elective procedures, like LASIK, PRK, Implantable Contact Lenses, and Refractive Lensectomy, are discretionary medical expenses. FSA and HSA accounts can help lower the cost of better vision with or without glasses or contact lenses.

Schedule a Cataract Examination Schedule a Free VIP iLASIK Consultation

There are many reasons why people are interested in LASIK, but one of the biggest is improving their vision with reduced dependence on glasses and contact lenses. Some—like pilots, first responders, and athletes—turn to LASIK for work. Others enjoy an active lifestyle and want to follow their passions. You may measure your LASIK success by the pure pleasure of having around-the-clock vision and the freedom to do without contacts—or never having to search the nightstand to find your glasses in the middle of the night again.

Here are some more reasons the convenience of LASIK may be right for you:

  • Participating in sports leagues
  • Hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities
  • Swimming or hitting the beach
  • Graduating from college
  • Getting married
  • Raising children 
  • Traveling the world
  • Pursuing a career (military, law enforcement, etc.)

LASIK can transform your life! No matter what your reason, there may well be a LASIK success story waiting for you.

Take the first step and come in for a Free VIP iLASIK Consultation. By talking with one of our surgery counselors, you can find out if you’re a good candidate for LASIK. They can help you understand what to expect from the procedure and what your experience will be like before, during, and after surgery.

Source: American Refractive Surgery Council

In addition to patient financing options, you may also consider using a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA) to pay for your vision correction procedure.

Did you know that up to 22% of employees are unaware of their FSA and HSA benefits? FSAs are a great way to pay for elective and non-elective procedures pre-tax. So, depending on your tax bracket, that could end up being major savings! However, you must use your FSA balance by the end of the year or risk losing it.

HSA accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars from your payroll for medical expenses. The main difference from an FSA is that an HSA is a savings account that goes with you and funds stay in the account as long as it is open.

The good news is that you can contribute up to $2,650 per person in an FSA and even more in an HSA (depending on your plan) to pay for procedures you want. Think of this as an opportunity to access the procedures you need by using flex spending account dollars.

Why Is This Important?

Elective procedures—like LASIK, PRK, Implantable Contact Lenses, and Refractive Lensectomies—are discretionary medical expenses. FSAs and HSAs can be just the ticket to a future of better vision without glasses or contact lenses.

The team at Valley Eye is just as excited as you to leave your contacts behind and so that you‘re able to do the things you want to do without your daily contact grind or glasses getting in the way of everything.

The day of your Free VIP iLASIK Consultation, you will be greeted by our front desk staff, who will confirm your appointment and get you checked in. After this, our surgery coordinator will call you back into one of our testing rooms.

First and foremost, we will chat about your vision. The more information you can give us about your ocular history and your vision, the better. Once we establish what your vision struggles are, we will begin to take some quick measurements. First, we will take a brief reading of your prescription. We will need to make sure that your eyes fall into the parameters that we are able to treat with iLASIK or if there are any other treatments we would recommend based on your eyes. Remember that no two eyes are the same, so just because you may not be a good candidate for iLASIK, it does not mean that you are stuck with glasses and contacts forever. This is one of the reasons why coming in for your free consultation is so important.

Once we determine your prescription, we will head over to another machine called the Pentacam. This is a super cool machine that reads your cornea. The cornea is the front part of the eye, sort of the “window” to your eye. The machine will let us know what your corneal thickness is. This is a very technologically advanced piece of equipment. Dr. Vrabec is going to want to make sure that your eye is healthy enough for iLASIK. During iLASIK, we remove tissue from the cornea and we want to make sure that the cornea has enough tissue to be removed in the first place. If we were to proceed with iLASIK when you don’t have enough tissue or healthy tissue on your cornea, we could risk the long-term health and vision of your eye. This measurement is one of Dr. Vrabec’s favorites when it comes to our vision correction patients.

Once we determine which surgical procedure is the right one for you, we will head back to our conference room to discuss the procedures in-depth. We will show you a short video and we also have eye models to help us explain just how iLASIK treatment is done. If you’re squeamish, don’t worry—all videos are animated! You and your surgery coordinator will discuss your options and talk a little more about what you are looking to get out of your vision following iLASIK. Whether you are a hunter and you want to be able to head on into the woods without contacts bothering you, or you are a parent and your little ones keep breaking your glasses, we want to know what you are looking forward to doing without your corrective lenses.

We will continue to inform you of what to expect the day of your procedure, as well as the next few days following. We will also explain your basic restrictions for after your surgery. Within reason, you are able to proceed with everything you normally do after your iLASIK procedure. After you have been informed about price, restrictions, and what to expect before, after, and during your surgery, we will set up your next step in the vision correction journey, which is a full eye exam.

Even if you recently had a full eye exam, it is still required prior to your iLASIK procedure to make sure that you have the best ocular health. We take our time in measuring before to ensure that you are going to have the best outcome after.

Once this is set, we can pick a date for your surgery—the date you will officially be rid of corrective lenses and be able to wake up and continue your day without dealing with your contacts, solution, glasses, etc. This is the date you’ve been waiting for. With this appointment made and all of your questions answered by your surgery coordinator, you are on your way to better vision, naturally.

If this blog post left you wanting more information about iLASIK or if you would like to set up your Free VIP iLASIK Consultation and begin your own journey to ditch glasses and contacts, feel free to give us a call at (800) 344-4443 or fill out our appointment form. You are only one phone call away from beginning the process of leaving your glasses behind!

Bailey Woolgar, Surgery Counselor

It’s a struggle to deal with glasses and contacts on the daily: waking up with blurry vision, not seeing the alarm clock, or reading your text messages. Then you have to the grab your glasses or head into the bathroom and poke your eye with your contacts. It can truly be a struggle. By the end of the day your contacts are dry, scratchy, irritated, and you’re ready to take them out. But your vision just isn’t the greatest, so you just deal with it. But you don’t have to do this every day.

With the latest technology and advancements in the medical field, we are able to offer relief, with iLASIK! Imagine a world where you wake up and can see without dealing with the hassle of wearing contacts or glasses everyday. Now that you have thought about the possibility of ditching the eyewear, what do you do next? Well, you could spend hours researching the best doctors, and clinics, maybe put out a post on your social media saying “thinking about LASIK if anyone has recommendations?” Or, you could call Valley Eye Associates and look no further!

Here at Valley Eye Associates, not only were we voted the best iLASIK facility 11 years in a row, but our surgeon, Dr. Michael Vrabec is also the area’s top corneal specialist, which means that you are getting the expertise of a specialist for your iLASIK surgery. But what happens next?

This is the easy part… Simply grab your phone and contact one of our surgery coordinators to set up a Free VIP iLASIK Consultation. That’s right, it’s free! And coming in for your consultation is easy. We just want to confirm that you are in fact a good candidate for iLASIK as well as inform you about how we perform iLASIK and what to expect before, during and after your surgery. The consultation will take about 30-45 minutes and will be easy and most of all, fun. Yes, your Free VIP iLASIK Consultation should be fun!