Tag Archives: Kugler Vision

Toric Implantable Collamer Lens

March 14, 2019 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Brian Leising could barely see his cell phone screen without glasses or contacts. Leising, 45, was severely nearsighted and had astigmatism until this past year—now, he has perfect vision. He is one of more than a dozen patients in Omaha who, since December 2018, have undergone permanent contact lens implant surgery to correct both nearsightedness (medically known as myopia) and astigmatism. Dr. Lance Kugler, physician CEO of Kugler Vision, represents one of 10 practices in the country to be selected by the manufacturer as a test market for the product.

The idea was to work out any kinks in the procedure with a small test market of ophthalmologists. The procedure was offered to a broader range of ophthalmologists within a few weeks.

“Everybody who has had the surgery is now seeing 20/20 or better,” Kugler says. “They tell us, ‘It’s so nice that I don’t have to wear my glasses.”

Permanent contact lens implants have been a vision correction option across the country for at least a decade, but until now they were unable to correct astigmatism, Kugler says. This type of lens, called the Toric ICL, has been FDA-approved to treat astigmatism and myopia.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he says. “This was a product that took a long time to get all the research done that the FDA required, but now we have it available.”

Omaha Eye and Laser Institute offers Toric ICL through Dr. John Liu, but he had not performed the surgery as of press time. Liu has performed hundreds of other permanent contact lens operations. Ophthalmologists at Nebraska Medicine do not offer Toric ICL surgery, but they soon may, spokesman Taylor Wilson says.

The procedure is in-office, outpatient, takes a few hours, and is done with the patient awake—the eyes are numbed with drops. Doctors make two millimeter openings in the side of each eye. Then, the lens is folded, inserted into the eye and unfolded once inside.

Nobody can tell that anything was done by looking at patients who have had the procedure, Kugler says, and they walk out being able to see. Within four hours, their vision is 20/20 or better.

About half of the U.S. population age 50 and younger need glasses or contacts due to myopia. It occurs when the eye grows too long from front to back. Instead of focusing images on the retina, it focuses on the images in front of the retina, according to the National Eye Institute. People with myopia can see fine up close, but struggle to see anything even a little far away.

Astigmatism, meanwhile, is a vision condition affecting 33 percent of all people. It causes blurred vision, the American Optometric Association says, and occurs when the cornea is irregularly shaped.

LASIK surgery has been an option to correct for nearly two decades. However, Kugler says, about 15 percent of people with poor eyesight do not qualify for LASIK. Patients who are extremely nearsighted, for example, are not good candidates for LASIK. Others are patients whose corneas are abnormal or have an abnormal shape, he says.

The new permanent contact lenses can perfect vision in patients who can’t get LASIK.

“You hear stories about people who aren’t happy with their LASIK,” Kugler says. “The problem isn’t their LASIK—it’s that they shouldn’t have had the surgery in the first place. Getting LASIK when you shouldn’t may increase the risk of a complication.”

The patients who have received Toric ICL were on a list of people who had come to Kugler for LASIK but did not qualify for it. The ideal candidates for the Toric ICL are people between the ages of 21-45 years of age with high levels of myopia and mild-to-moderate astigmatism.

Although Leising was at the top of the age range recommended by the FDA, Kugler thought he would be an excellent candidate for this new procedure.

“A surgeon can decide to implant the ICL into older patients if they deem it appropriate,” Kugler says. “In Brian’s case, his eyes were in excellent shape and ICL was the best technology to suit both his vision needs and his lifestyle.”

Heidi Lichtenberg, O.D., of Eye Care West, P.C., says the longevity of the ICL surgery is reduced once a person hits their 40s.

“When a 45-year-old comes in here and asks me about ICL, it becomes a gray area,” Lichtenberg says. “Do you have ICL done and then have cataract surgery or refractive lens exchange done? Or do you wait 10-15 years and have one cataract surgery done?”

Refractive lens exchange, in which a person’s natural lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), is the same as cataract surgery, but can be done cosmetically to correct vision in someone who does not have cataracts. Cataracts are a natural part of aging, being the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40, and is the principal cause of blindness in the world.

Lichtenberg also says people should be aware that having surgery on the eyes such as ICL may mean a less successful cataract surgery down the road.

“The accuracy of the outcomes go down after cataract surgery,” Lichtenberg says. “You can have a more exact outcome in a patient who has not had a surgery done than one who has.”

Like LASIK, ICL is typically not covered by most insurance plans. The procedure runs about $10,500.For LASIK, each eye costs about $2,500.

Stephanie Bradley, a spokeswoman for Kugler Vision, says the cost of wearing glasses or contacts over a lifetime adds up to “tens of thousands of dollars,” with supplies, upkeep, and exams.

Leising, a life insurance sales director at Financial Brokerage in Omaha, had gone to Kugler seeking LASIK. He had worn glasses since first grade, when he found that he couldn’t see the blackboard at school, and contacts since middle school. Dr. Kugler thought the Toric ICL would be a better option for him.

Being able to see has been hard to get used to—in a good way, he says.

“It’s weird to get up, get out of bed, and I don’t have to take the phone off the nightstand to see it,” Leising says. “I still think I need to put in my contacts. But next time I go on a vacation, I’ll have so much more room in my bag because there won’t be contact solution, contacts, or glasses inside. It’s one thing if you forget a toothbrush, but if you forget your contacts or glasses you are in trouble.”

Kugler called the surgery “life-changing.”

“It’s about how people interact with the world. It’s about waking up in the middle of the night and being able to see, or going camping and not having to worry about trying to put in your contacts,” he says. “Vision is a fundamental need. This is another technology to give that opportunity to people.”

Visit lasikomaha.com for more information.

This article was printed in the April/May 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Toric ICL surgery

Strawberry-Blue Olive’s Excellent Adventure

February 14, 2019 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Strawberry-Blue Olive believes in the power of “ideas worth spreading. This heartfelt belief in the TED tagline—plus her love of innovation, creativity, and community—made her an apt fit to carry the mantle of TEDxOmaha when original license holder Brian Smith stepped away after 2017. 

If you’ve never “met” TED, it’s a nonprofit aiming to spread knowledge and ideas, most notably in the form of TED talks (mini-lectures clocking in at 18 minutes or less) and conferences. TED began as a 1984 conference co-mingling topics of technology, entertainment, and design, but it has evolved into a sprawling network of projects and communities worldwide. The TED mission is ambitious yet simple: to build “a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers—and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.” TEDx events, which launched in 2009, are held locally in communities worldwide.     

“Giving a TED speech is unlike anything else. It’s not a motivational talk, not a conference speech, not a keynote speech. It’s something very different. It’s very prestigious and life-changing for people who deliver them,” says Olive, the executive producer and license-holder for TEDxOmaha. “[The aim] is to elevate what’s great within the community, because the [speakers] will inspire the audience to go and do great things themselves or to reach back to us and with their own idea worth spreading.”

Olive, who has a background in business, organizational leadership, and education, hails from the United Kingdom and spent 11 years working in Germany prior to moving to Omaha five years ago with her husband, Al Cagle, when his role in the U.S. Air Force transitioned to an Omaha-based job. The pair originally met at a Harley-Davidson rally in Norway. 

Olive says because she’d attended TED events elsewhere, she immediately looked into TED’s Omaha presence as a way to tap into the community. She later joined the effort as a volunteer. When Smith announced his departure, she stepped in to ensure TEDxOmaha would continue.

“I said to the team, ‘We cannot let Brian’s legacy go. We owe it to the community to continue this,’” says Olive, whose first order of business after securing the license was reaching out to all past volunteers and partners to gauge their needs, glean their knowledge, and understand how/if they’d like to be engaged in the future. “That’s something that’s never scared me—taking things over and setting up from scratch. As I’ve moved countries and changed careers, each time I’ve been thrown into an area I’m unfamiliar with, I have had to hit the ground running at top speed. So, that’s never phased me.”

While there are thousands of TEDx events around the globe, Olive says the Omaha area is particularly rich with them. 

“We have TEDxLincoln, TEDxOmaha, TEDxUNO, and TEDxCreighton,” she says. “A lot of communities don’t have the richness and diversity of ideas within their own community [to support multiple TEDx events]. We do.”

In addition to the main TEDx events, Olive says Omaha also has TEDxSalons and TEDxAdventures throughout the year to help “keep the momentum, ideas, and engagement going” year-round. Salons are held the third Monday monthly at KANEKO and Adventures occur throughout the community—everywhere from Kugler Vision to Joslyn Castle.   

One important challenge that Olive strives to address is achieving inclusivity. To her, that means creating community-wide awareness of TEDx events and ensuring a multitude of perspectives are at the table.

“Our vision is to promote positive interaction through the sharing of ideas,” Olive says. “Beyond providing events, our focus is to be of the community—to engage with others, participate, and collaborate within our community. So, if we are truly of the community, then we must work to be inclusive.”

Informed by her interest in education, and in an effort to include young people, TED-Ed is another program Olive would like to bring to Omaha in the coming years. TED-Ed is TED’s youth and education initiative, which brings the TED model into schools.

But for now, Olive and her “fabulous” team of volunteer leaders are busy planning TEDxOmaha’s 10th anniversary in 2019, which ultimately means choosing a theme and format, auditioning and coaching speakers, marketing the event, coordinating with partners, tackling logistics, and more.

Olive says they want to create “something special” to honor the decade milestone. Her other hope for TEDxOmaha’s future is to see the conversations sparked at the main event gain traction and create change within the community.

“We want to use the talks as a platform to start more conversations. I’m hoping we can build momentum around these conversations so they can take on a life of their own,” Olive says. “We have to explore where the synergy is in the community and how we can facilitate conversations to help the speakers elevate their ideas and bring in others to further discuss and move these ideas forward. And it doesn’t have to belong to [TEDxOmaha] all the way through, but if we can be the catalyst to start these conversations, that’s fantastic.”

Visit tedxomaha.com for more information.

This article was printed in the March/April 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Strawberry-Blue Olive

Strawberry-Blue Olive

Faces of Omaha 2018

April 19, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Faces of Omaha is an annual sponsored publication that introduces a variety of “faces,” local industry leaders and experts, to the community. This exclusive publication was carefully cultivated​,​ so only one person and company per business category is invited to participate.

In the publishing industry, this sort of publication is known as “native advertising.” Native advertising is a unique form of sponsored content produced by editorial staff in conjunction with advertisers. The end result is an enjoyable book that has value to both the readers and advertisers.

Everyone featured in the book is truly the “face” of their field. Our sales team spent considerable time cultivating this list.

The following pages introduce more than 100 people and companies, the leaders in their respective areas of expertise, who stand ready to serve their community.  

Todd Lemke, publisher Omaha Publications

This sponsored content was printed in a special annual. To view, click here: Faces of Omaha 2018

Lance Kugler, M.D.

April 6, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Vision correction is life-changing, particularly when it is performed by an expert surgeon in a state-of-the-art facility that boasts the most advanced diagnostic and treatment capabilities in the region.

Nearly everyone has heard of LASIK, but patients are often surprised to learn that more options exist. LASIK is one of seven vision correction procedures available today. Kugler Vision is the only practice in Nebraska or Iowa offering all of them—giving its doctors unparalleled ability to correct both near and distance vision issues at every stage of life. 

The doctors at Kugler Vision take the time to analyze the best vision correction option for each patient, depending on their vision as well as the goals and lifestyle they wish to achieve. Customized lifetime treatment plans are created to provide excellent vision now, as well as in the future. Patients are well-informed at every step of the way.

The staff’s confidence in vision correction is obvious – every eligible member of Kugler Vision’s team has undergone a vision correction procedure with great results. Kugler Vision was established in 2011, and recently expanded to a new facility near Village Pointe, significantly elevating the patient experience. Kugler Vision’s unique, holistic approach to vision correction allows patients to enjoy independence from glasses and contacts so they can get the most out of life. 

Kugler Vision
17838 Burke St., Suite 100

This sponsored content appeared in Faces of Omaha 2018. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/faces_2018/54

Kugler Vision

April 1, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

People who wish they could have 20/20 vision without glasses or contacts have options. There are seven safe, effective laser vision procedures that can enable most people to see clearly without corrective lenses, and Kugler Vision is the only medical practice in Omaha that specializes in them all: LASIK, ASA, SMILE, ICLs, Corneal Inlays for near vision, Refractive Lens Exchange, and Corneal Crosslinking. Kugler Vision also offers Refractive Laser Cataract Surgery. The primary focus is on finding a customized solution for each patient based on his or her unique vision challenges and lifestyle. All eligible staff members have had a refractive procedure themselves, so they understand the freedom and confidence that comes from seeing the world in a new way.

“It’s so much more than just not wearing contacts or glasses,” explains Dr. Lance Kugler. “It’s deeper than that. It’s a transformational experience that changes how you interact with the world. It’s such an incredible honor to be doing what I do.” As director of refractive surgery at UNMC, Dr. Kugler is in charge of resident education and research programs that advance the field of refractive surgery.

kuglervision.com • 402.558.2211

This sponsored content is a page from the publication Faces of Omaha.  To read the entire magazine, click the image: