Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Theresa Skutt What if you could have clear vision without the aid of corrective lenses or eyeglasses? Are you considering Carmel LASIK surgery but are not sure if you’re a candidate for it? If you’re in need of the best comprehensive ophthalmologist in central Indiana, then look no further than Dr. Michael Behforouz at the Center for Sight in Carmel. For more than 15 years, Dr. Behforouz has been improving the quality of his patients’ lives by providing them with specialized ophthalmology treatment plans and individualized one-on-one care. Dr. Behforouz, a Muncie native and graduate of Indiana University, specializes in Carmel LASIK Surgery, Custom Cataract Surgery and Dry Eye Treatment. His practice, Center for Sight, is in Carmel where Dr. Behforouz and his wife, Maryjane, reside and are raising their two daughters. Behforouz is certified through the American Board of Ophthalmology. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the prestigious Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and has been in private practice since 2000. Behforouz started his own practice in 2003 and expanded his facility to include his outpatient clinic in 2013 where he and his staff of 14 manage and treat patients with diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma. “I joined a private practice right out of residency,” Dr. Behforouz said. “After that, I decided that I wanted to do things differently for my patients, and I deviated from the traditional private practice model a bit.” Private practices are becoming scarcer in today’s medical field. We asked Dr. Behforouz why and why he has been successful without the support of a major healthcare system. “In the context of physician-owned practices, to put it into perspective, the loan that I had to take out to start this practice was eight times more than my medical school loan,” Dr. Behforouz bluntly stated. “I think part of the reason why physician-owned practices are less commonplace these days is because you have to treat it like any other business. You must create a product that by itself is going to be in demand. If you want to own your own business, you have to be a proficient marketing person and be willing to make that extra effort in running your practice like a business and conquer the fear of failure.” Dr. Behforouz admitted that many physicians don’t want to deal with running a business; they just want to practice medicine and do what they diligently studied to do. Most physicians also appreciate the job security that comes with working within a network and the overall risk aversion that private practices are not shielded from. “What most physicians don’t realize is that they give up a whole lot of freedom,” Dr. Behforouz said. “I don’t have a corporate person telling me how many patients I’m supposed to see and how to code it. I don’t have someone telling me how to practice an art; that’s what medicine is. There is science to what I do, but there is also art to it, and it’s about treating people the way that I would want to be treated.” Another reason why Dr. Behforouz has been successful in growing his practice – having just recently treated his 30,000th patient – is his appreciation for evolving technology and his keen sense on if and/or when to implement it. “Ophthalmology is unique in the sense that it is very technology-driven,” he said. “New equipment is coming out every six months. It’s high cost to get the new hardware and software, but it’s worth the investment. There is no extra cost to my patients. The reward for me is that I am going to do the best job, and my patient is going to see better and tell all their friends. Our biggest referral source is word of mouth. My adaptation of technology has always been to look for new technology and how it will make a difference. You have to be discerning. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean that it’s better.” Last May, Dr. Behforouz acquired the fastest laser on the market that has allowed his practice to offer traditional PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) surgery and LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery at his outpatient clinic. While both procedures treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and/or astigmatism, each varies in procedure, recovery and cost per eye. “The faster the laser, the better,” Dr. Behforouz emphasized. “The way we measure the eye has changed too. We can take a digital fingerprint of the eye, so to speak, and that guides the laser to create a round shape, which is the most desirable shape to get all the light rays into focus at one point in the eye. Not everybody is a candidate for Carmel LASIK. Again, just because you have the technology doesn’t mean that it applies to everybody, so I still do the ‘old’ PRK as well as the ‘new’ LASIK, depending on the patient.” Dr. Behforouz explained that the ideal candidate for Carmel LASIK is between 25 and 40 years old, lives an active lifestyle and doesn’t have dry eye. While he will treat patients after the age of 40, he stressed that he has a different conversation with these patients as it comes down to realistic expectations. “The ideal age is 25 only because these patients are going to get 15 years without glasses and/or readers,” he said. “They’ll get more bang for their buck the younger they have it done.” Trusting your ophthalmologist is essential before any kind of treatment or procedure, and building that trust is equally as important to Dr. Behforouz. “I’ve been in practice for more than 15 years, and we do all of our procedures onsite,” he said. “I’m the only person that you see pre- and post-op. We have a very customized approach to all our surgeries, especially the cataract surgeries. These have really been niche for the last 15 years. We dedicate the time to have a discussion before surgery to find out what the patient wants and needs and what they can really have because everybody’s eyes are different.” Behforouz concluded, “Our individualized approach, compassion and communicativeness is what separates our practice from others. For me, trust is a big deal. I appreciate your trust. That’s the ultimate gift that a patient can give me.” For more information on Center for Sight or to schedule a no-obligation consultation, visit caringforeyes.com.