Dr. Seibel’s Personal Philosophy

Dr. Seibel Explains His Approach To Patient Care

My practice of medicine has been strongly influenced from the years I spent at Rice University, where I originally began pursuing an engineering degree. I was subsequently accepted into medical school prior to completing that degree, but the background that I had in physics and mathematics stayed with me and brought with it a particular method of approaching problems and learning in general that is rarely developed within the field of medicine alone.
Because of the tremendous volume of material involved, the typical medical school curriculum tends to encourage memorization as the mainstay of learning. In contrast, Rice University had its emphasis on deeply understanding the material, encouraging a pathway to independent and innovative thinking.
For example, typical undergraduate chemistry courses might require students to memorize hundreds of different chemical reactions in order to choose the correct one while taking a multiple choice exam. By comparison, a Rice University exam required an in depth essay on how and why each reaction occurred, and the course was taught in a manner that supported such comprehension. Thus, there was no need for me to blindly memorize reactions because ‘the right answer’ could instead be derived from my understanding of the molecular structure of each ingredient.
I found that this ‘engineering’ approach to learning produced a highly effective, longer lasting comprehension of the material involved. This deeper understanding of the fundamental concepts automatically encouraged thinking beyond the original material to the potential of new variations and possibilities.

From a similar approach came my development of Phacodynamics, a name I invented and a field of study I developed over two decades ago. Phacodynamics is not just a method of doing, but rather a method of ‘learning’ designed to foster a deeper understanding of the fundamental principles underlying the surgical machine technology, microsurgical instruments, and delicate maneuvers used in the science of cataract surgery.

Prior to Phacodynamics, cataract surgery was taught in a mostly stepwise approach based on the assumption that the majority of patients were fundamentally the same, and that the steps in any individual operation could always proceed in an orderly manner. I found that this was often not the case, and that only by breaking down the individual components of each procedure and totally understanding every nuance involved, could I then respond appropriately regardless of virtually any surgical challenge.

The development of Phacodynamics required extensive original research on my part, including collaborating with engineers at the various world eye surgery machine manufacturers. I was then able to analyze and organize this information, using computer schematic drawings that I generated to effectively convey the essential concepts in a manner clinically relevant to other surgeons.
Rather than requiring a surgeon to memorize hundreds of different settings for each cataract machine, I teach them four fundamental adjustment parameters and then how to ascertain which need adjusting, how much and in what direction – based on what they actually see through the operating microscope rather than some image they might hold in their minds taken from a book. Instead of an ‘off-the-rack’ or ‘cookbook’ approach, Phacodynamics allows the unique adaptation and individualization of each patient’s surgery.  By mastering these principles, I am able to effectively use advanced Dual Linear Pedal Control, which has been employed by only 1% of U.S. surgeons.
This same goal is behind the development of every Seibel surgical instrument, created by applying Phacodynamics principles to cataract and LASIK surgery. During each step of every operation, I ask myself what the goal of that moment is and how it could best be served. If the current technique and instrumentation seem to be lacking in any way, I then systematically derive how I can best implement improvements. Because of this, I am now able to offer the many highly specialized Seibel instruments that enhance safety, patient comfort, and surgical efficiency worldwide.
All of the forgoing technological comprehension would be incomplete without the essential understanding of each patient’s unique eye anatomy, history, and especially their concerns and vision goals.  Individualizing patient care starts with me personally examining and taking the time to talk with each patient.
By applying the Phacodynamics principles of evaluating appropriateness and effectiveness, all aspects of eye surgery are thus appropriately scrutinized and optimized. The result is my holding a constant vigilance for excellence in order to insure that you as my patient will receive the truly individualized attention and care that you deserve.