Aspiring UM Music Conductor Becomes First LASIK Patient at Lennar

University of Miami student Craig McKenzie provides musical direction to ensembles through swaying arms and precise hand gestures. However, a nagging challenge to his work were his black-framed eyeglasses that tended to slide down his perspiring face as he conducted.

“I feel that a lot of times these glasses are hiding what I’m trying to express to the ensemble,” said McKenzie.

While the California native and doctoral student came to UM’s Frost School of Music to further his music training, it took expert eye surgeons at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Health System to help McKenzie deliver the true magic of conducting, without the burden of glasses. McKenzie was the first patient to receive high-tech LASIK surgery from a Bascom Palmer eye surgeon at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center, a state-of-the-art outpatient center on UM’s Coral Gables campus.

Like many people considering LASIK surgery, McKenzie wanted the best care possible and learned that UM’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute not only offers the surgery but is the nation’s Number One eye institute.

“I knew that I was in the right place as soon as I walked in the door,” said McKenzie.

Bascom Palmer’s Laser Vision Center at the Lennar Center treats patients using the Allegretto 500 Laser, which features a guidance system that follows the actual topography of each patient’s eye. This permits individualized treatment that is unique to each patient and corrects all of the aberrations in the patient’s cornea. The result is crisper, clearer vision correction than is available with eyeglasses or contact lenses.

“Today is a very big day for us,” said Bascom Palmer eye surgeon Sonia H. Yoo, M.D., who performed McKenzie’s surgery. “We’ve been doing LASIK for a long time at Bascom Palmer in Miami but today was the first day of doing surgery at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center.”

Bascom Palmer has the widest selection of refractive eye lasers. LASIK surgeons also contribute to the research that brings many of the newest refractive eye lasers to market.

Yoo advises that not every patient is a good candidate for LASIK surgery. Conditions that typically disqualify a patient are having dry eye, a cornea that is too thin or irregular astigmatism.

“Some patients notice a dramatic difference immediately after the procedure, and almost all patients recover from any discomfort quickly enough to drive themselves to a follow-up check the next morning,” said Yoo, professor of ophthalmology.

“Where you choose to have your laser vision correction is critical,” said William W. Culbertson, M.D., another Bascom Palmer surgeon who will be treating patients at the Lennar Center, and professor of ophthalmology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “We have 35 years of experience with refractive surgery, and we have trained on every piece of equipment available, including the new Allegretto 500. Our patients can be confident that they are receiving the best LASIK treatment in South Florida.”

Ben Riestra, M.B.A., chief administrative officer at the Lennar Center, is excited about the Laser Vision Center.

“The concept behind the Lennar Center is bringing UHealth’s unmatched outpatient specialty services to Coral Gables, closer to where many of our patients, and prospective patients, live,” he said. “The Laser Vision Center is one more way we are providing state-of-the-art academic clinical treatment in a convenient and optimal facility.”

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