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Local doctor has eye for technology, education

Posted: February 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Craig Helm, M.D. of Helm Vision Group. Craig Helm, M.D. of Helm Vision Group.
Craig Helm, M.D. of Helm Vision Group.

At Helm Vision Group on Tourney Road, staff focuses on education, innovation and personal care.

Founded in 2001 by Dr. Craig Helm, the local vision center offers general optometry and ophthalmology, cataract surgery, cornea surgery and laser vision correction.

"We have all-inclusive eye health services from a basic eye exam to the operating room,” said Erica Miyata, the refractive surgery coordinator at Helm.

Dr. Helm is well-known for his cataract surgeries and optometry business, Miyata said, but fewer people know about his specialty in laser vision correction.

“There are a lot of people in the Santa Clarita Valley still going into the valley for laser vision correction because of doctors and technology,” she said. “But we have that here.”

Choosing laser vision correction
“Anyone in glasses or contacts is right for laser vision correction surgery,” Miyata said.

The ideal age demographic is 21-50 years old, but it can be right for other ages, as well, she said.

The next step would be to consult your doctor, and Helm offers free consultations to see if the patient is a candidate for the surgery or not, she said.

During the consultation, patients can ask questions and learn about the quick surgery.

“Sometimes people are anxious about it because it’s eye surgery,” Miyata said. “But talking to patients afterward, they generally leave saying, ‘I don’t know why it took me so long to do that.’”

If the patient is a candidate and moves forward with the procedure, there is very little preparation involved beforehand.

The surgery
The entire procedure from beginning to end is no longer than 15 minutes, Miyata said.

“It’s a very fast procedure,” she said.

Two aspects of Helm make this procedure so fast and precise: the fastest laser technology and Dr. Helm’s education.

“You want to keep the cornea exposed for as little time as possible,” Miyata said. “That’s why a faster laser is better.”

The Allegretto 400 laser pulses 400 times a second, Miyata said.

“The laser also works with the natural eye shape,” she said. “So the speed and precision offers the best personalized treatment.”

Because of the technology, recovery time is generally overnight, Miyata said.

“You heal within a matter of about eight hours,” she said. “You can be back to work two days later.”

More than just advanced technology, Dr. Helm offers qualifications no other local doctor can, Miyata said.

Dr. Helm
Dr. Helm earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles.
From there, he went on to pursue his medical education at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Lousiana.

He completed his residency training in ophthalmology at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute and continued fellowship training in cornea and refractive surgery and uveitis.

Dr. Helm is the only board certified refractive and cornea specialist in the SCV, she said.

In addition to being fellowship-trained, Dr. Helm took an extra year to specialize his studies on cornea and refractive surgeries, Miyata said.

“His qualifications and experience in laser vision correction is a speciality,” Miyata said.


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