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LASIK: no more eyeglasses or contact lenses

6

LASIK is a quick and effective solution to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia or the loss of near vision. While it is regarded as a good alternative to eyeglasses and contact lenses, there are things you need to consider before undergoing LASIK.

According to Asian Eye LASIK/Refractive Department Director Dr. Robert Ang, it is important for interested patients to undergo a screening. “Eye grade is not the only factor we consider; we also check their corneal thickness, eye health, eye history and even their lifestyle. For patients who have thin corneas, severe dry eyes, extremely high eye grade and other eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma and retinal disease, we offer other options other than LASIK.”

Age is also a key factor when doing the procedure. Asian Eye LASIK surgeon Dr. Emerson Cruz explains, “Ideally, LASIK patients should be over 18 years old since vision at this age is relatively stable. Below 18, the eyes are still constantly adjusting and changing shape.”

Women who are pregnant or nursing are also advised to delay surgery. “Their hormones may affect the shape of their cornea, which causes frequent changes in their eye grade. It is best to wait until their hormonal levels are back to normal and their eye grade is stable,” explains Dr. Cruz.

In the past, LASIK could only be used to treat distance vision. Now, patients age 40 and up, who have difficulty reading small text or doing close-up work or have had cataract surgery, can undergo Supracor. It is a laser treatment that can effectively improve both distance and near vision. Exclusively available at Asian Eye, Supracor enables patients to read or work on the computer without the need for reading glasses.

Both Dr. Ang and Dr. Cruz recognize the reservations of LASIK patients during the surgery. “They usually ask what happens if their eye moves during surgery,” says Dr. Ang, “I tell them not to worry about it because our machines are equipped with safety features like the eyetracker and iris registration that monitor any involuntary movements and automatically adjust the laser to the eye’s new position. The iris registration, which contains unique information about the eye, also ensures patients that another patient’s treatment will not be used on their eyes.”

Patients are also concerned about the downtime after surgery. “Most LASIK patients notice immediate improvement in their vision after surgery, and usually go back to work the following day. However, they may experience a little discomfort, especially when blinking, for the first 24 hours of the surgery. They may also see glare and halos around lights, but that is just normal and vision will continue to improve within one to three months,” Dr. Cruz adds.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ang dismisses misconceptions about the effect of LASIK. “LASIK is permanent. However, it does not prevent the natural aging of the eye. So when you age, you may develop eye conditions, such as presbyopia, cataract, glaucoma and retinal problems, that may affect your vision.”

A good visual outcome depends not only on careful evaluation of the eyes before the surgery but also on the technology used and the surgeon. Dr. Ang reminds patients that skills and experience are key factors that patients should consider when finding a LASIK surgeon. “Cost should not be the sole basis of your decision. Ask the surgeon about how many surgeries they have done, how many patients have returned for enhancements and what technology they are using. At the