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Advancing the art of new age cataract care

Regional Eye Center combines latest technology with old-fashioned service

Hutchinson eye surgeon Dr. Chris Wallyn performs a slit-lamp examination for cataracts. Photo by Steve Palmer

Hutchinson eye surgeon Dr. Chris Wallyn performs a slit-lamp examination for cataracts. Photo by Steve Palmer

With a reputation for eye care excellence in Central Minnesota that spans decades, Regional Eye Center is today recognized as one of Minnesota’s most established comprehensive eye care facilities. Over the years, they have built their reputation by combining the latest technology – like their LENSAR laser cataract procedure – with old-fashioned personalized care that is provided…one patient at a time.

Since founding Regional Eye Center, their goal has been quite simple: provide patients with superior quality care, in a professional medical environment that is convenient, comfortable and affordable, and delivered with unparalleled customer service. Their comprehensive eye care services include cataract removal and lens implantation, laser vision correction, glaucoma management, treatment for diabetic eye disease and a full-service optical (see complete list of services below).

As pioneers in the field of cataract and refractive surgery, Dr. Christopher Wallyn and Dr. Michael Merck continue to set the standard in the field of cataract removal and implantation. For years, patients across Central Minnesota have trusted their eyes to the doctors of Regional Eye Center. They want patients to be confident in knowing they are gaining access to the same advanced eye care found in major medical centers.

Dr. Michael Merck uses a surgical microsope to examine a patient in the operating room at Regional Eye Center. Photo by Steve Palmer

Dr. Michael Merck uses a surgical microsope to examine a patient in the operating room at Regional Eye Center. Photo by Steve Palmer

Providing the information needed to make an informed decision about your vision is an essential aspect of their commitment to patients. They offer comprehensive evaluations and consultations to determine the right solution to help patients achieve the best possible results.

Their full-service eye care team is composed of ophthalmologists, optometrists, nurses, anesthetists, opticians and experienced ophthalmic surgical techs and assistants. They strive for excellence in all that they do and are eager to compassionately care for each patient’s eye care concerns. They understand how important clear vision is for patients to enjoy the highest quality of life by dedicating themselves to the preservation and improvement of vision.

LENSAR laser cataract surgery

During the past decade, tremendous improvements in cataract lens implants, laser technology and surgical techniques have helped make modern-day cataract surgery one of the safest, most successful and most common procedures performed in medicine. Regional Eye Center is pleased to be the first practice in Central Minnesota to offer patients the safety, comfort, convenience and precision of LENSAR laser cataract Surgery. Today, cataract patients throughout the region now have access to a customized laser-assisted cataract surgery that is revolutionizing one of the most common procedures performed in medicine.

“Our LENSAR laser procedure is truly a technological breakthrough in precision, accuracy and safety for todayʼs cataract patients,” said Dr. Wallyn. Laser-assisted cataract surgery using the LENSAR system offers the surgeon a new tool to more precisely and gently remove your cataract.

“The LENSAR allows us to use a more gentle method of cataract surgery by reducing the amount of energy needed to soften and fragment the cataract,” said Dr. Merck. “This results in less overall surgical time and a much healthier postoperative eye in general.”

The LENSAR Precision Laser System allows Dr. Wallyn and Dr. Merck to perform cataract surgery with accuracy up to 10 times greater than is possible with a manual cataract procedure.

Making Cataract Surgery Affordable

At Regional Eye Center, they perform their cataract procedures in a Medicare-approved outpatient surgery center designed especially for eye care, which is the most affordable method of cataract surgery available today. Most of their cataract procedures are performed without stitches or even a patch to wear home. Cataract patients receive medication to help them relax during surgery.

Their surgery center was specifically designed to maximize patient safety, comfort and convenience. It is a Medicare-approved family-centered facility that can save patients as much as 40 percent over the cost of other hospital-based cataract surgery, according to the doctors. Their center saves patients out-of-pocket expenses and helps reduce the costs of health care to Medicare and the insurance industry.

Convenient Comprehensive

Eye Care for the Entire Family

The Regional Eye Center team provides quality care in a first-class facility in Central Minnesota. Because of their on-site surgery center and knowledgeable eye doctors and surgeons, they are able to offer an extensive array of vision services that include:

• Routine eye exams for children and adults

• Medical eye exams for children and adults

• Refractions (prescription measurement for

refractive error correction)

• Contact lens dispensing

• Full service optical

• Cataract detection

• Cataract treatment

• After cataract laser treatment (posterior


• Dry eye treatment

• Macular degeneration screening (AMD)

and treatment

• Macular degeneration nutritional


• Glaucoma screening

• Optic nerve and macula scanning (OCT)

• Digital eye photography and angiography

• Computerized peripheral vision testing

• Corneal topography and pachymetry

• Retina consultations (Retina Center)

• Refractive surgery

• Laser vision correction

• Astigmatism-correcting lens

implants (Toric)

• Bifocal lens implants (TECNIS Symfony)

• Laser glaucoma treatment

• Eyelid surgery

• Diabetic retinopathy treatment

• Bladeless laser-assisted cataract

surgery (LENSAR)

3-D Imaging, Enhanced

Safety and Superior Results

Dr. Wallyn and Dr. Merck are among the top 10 percent of eye surgeons in the country to offer patients the added benefits of LENSAR laser cataract surgery. The LENSAR – with the addition of Streamline® – also makes laser correction of astigmatism now possible with a more precise and predictable laser delivery. The treatment of astigmatism is now guided by the pattern of the patient’s iris, which is unique to the patient, like a fingerprint.

This is important because the patient’s vision, with or without glasses, is being set for life.

“What has been most impressive with the LENSAR system,” said Dr. Wallyn, “is the advanced imaging that this technology gives surgeons. For the first time in medical history, we’re able to precisely image the exact location, contour and density of the cataract. LENSARʼs Augmented Reality® technology allows us to build a sophisticated 3-D model of the true anatomy of each individual patient’s cataract.”

The LENSAR laser procedure is surgeon-directed, computer-controlled and allows for added precision and safety during surgery. This means patients can return to their normal activities sooner. According to Dr. Merck, cataract surgery has evolved over the years from a procedure with less than certain outcomes, to an advanced no-patch, no-injection, no-stitch, 15-minute procedure with a faster recovery time. “The LENSAR laser is a perfect match with our state-of-the-art lifestyle lens implants that help reduce or eliminate dependency on prescription glasses following cataract surgery.”

Second Opinions

If you’ve been diagnosed with a cataract but still have questions, call Regional Eye Center for your second opinion. Their second opinion cataract evaluations are covered by your insurance provider and will let you feel confident in your choice to move forward with cataract surgery. Their comprehensive evaluations and consultations will help determine the right solution to provide you with the greatest results.

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