When it comes to improving his vision care skills and expertise, Dr. Phillips Kirk Labor continually goes above and beyond to do the same for his patients. In addition to the standard certification all ophthalmologists must have, he is certified by the American Board of Eye Surgery in the fields of LASIK and cataract surgery. This voluntary certification requires more in-depth study and passing a rigorous process of testing by his peers.
Dr. Labor’s drive to be the best stems from his passion to care for people which began as a child. More than that, in many ways, this also comes from a life-changing medical event he experienced firsthand in 1994. “I had open heart surgery due to a congenital heart defect. All of a sudden, I had my life in someone else’s hands,” he said. “In terms of understanding how patients feel, that was as valuable as any education and training I could have ever received.”
At the time, he was in the middle of his residency at the Eye Foundation Hospital at The University of Alabama at Birmingham having just been named Chief Resident. UAB is a highly renowned medical facility known for attracting some of the world’s best heart surgeons. “I was definitely in the right place at the right time, and will never forget how fortunate I was,” he said. “I had the best caring for me and promised myself I would provide that reassurance to every patient under my care.”
Dr. Labor adds that this experience affects everything he does, and that his practice conducts business very differently because of it. “Where I might have checked twice before I treated a patient, I now check three or four times, and I am adamant about offering my patients my full attention, never rushing someone through my office. I also want to offer each patient the opportunity to discuss their upcoming surgery either in person or by phone, if more convenient.”
Over his long career, Dr. Labor has gained a reputation as one of the most innovative eye surgeons in the U.S. and has been the first locally and nationally to perform several new procedures. “Staying abreast of new technologies is imperative, yet I’ll never adopt a technology just because it’s the latest thing; it must be truly beneficial for my patients,” he said. Three recent examples perfectly illustrate this point, all of which are revolutionizing cataract treatment as we know it: The RayOne EMV intraocular lens, the Light Adjustable Lens (or LAL), and the ALLY™ Adaptive Cataract Treatment System.
He was the first in North America to implant the RayOne EMV (which stands for Enhanced Monovision). “Where monovision provides good distance and good near vision, the RayOne creates a smooth transition from near to distance and all points in between, extending a patient’s depth of focus in ways no other lens is capable of doing,” he said.
In addition, he was the first in DFW to implant the Light Adjustable Lens, the world’s first lens that can be custom adjusted to a patient’s own specific needs after cataract surgery. “The LAL literally lets the patient ‘test drive’ their vision, allowing me to make adjustments until it’s how they want it,” he said. Dr. Labor’s experience with this lens is unsurpassed given that he participated in its early clinical trials to secure FDA approval. He’s considered one of the LAL’s top authorities in the U.S. today.
He was also the first in DFW and fifth in the U.S. to use the ALLY™ Adaptive Cataract Treatment System. “The ALLY uses next-generation femtosecond laser technology allowing me to more precisely personalize a patient’s treatment like no other technology of its kind,” he said.
While continually remaining at the forefront of the latest advancements is important, Dr. Labor points out that this will never replace the one-on-one doctor-patient relationship. “Technology allows us to reassure patients and to take the very best care of their eyes and give them their personal best vision. In presenting their surgical and treatment options, I must do this in a way they can easily understand, including how I explain their post-surgery care and available medications so they comprehend what we’re doing and how it will benefit them. At the end of the day, in addition to providing excellent clinical surgery care, my job is to provide peace of mind.”
Dr. Labor is internationally recognized for his refractive work, having performed thousands of LASIK, PRK and cataract lens implant procedures. He serves on various healthcare policy committees in Washington, D.C., and is a past president of the prestigious Society for Excellence in Eye Care (SEE), an elected position based on his reputation as an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon.
In addition to Eye Consultants of Texas, he is the founder of LoneStar Ambulatory Surgery Center. This truly state-of-the-art facility is adjacent to Eye Consultants of Texas, allowing exams, testing, and surgeries to be conveniently performed at the same location. He is also the founder of Dry Eye Institutes of America™, a specialty clinic within his practice fully devoted to the diagnosis and treatment dry eye disease, and among the first of its kind in the U.S.
When not on the job, Dr. Labor enjoys time with his wife and their dogs and playing guitar in his band “The Machine” at venues locally and across the U.S.