By See Foon Chan-Koppen
Ipoh Specialist Hospital has started a new era in vision correction and the whole surgery has become completely bladeless. A new Lasik centre now offers the computer-controlled VisuMax® FS laser which creates extremely thin, precise corneal flaps. This makes the bladeless procedure safe for a wider variety of patients who may not be eligible for Lasik with a conventional blade.
The most common complication of Lasik is flap-created-complication by blade. However with the new equipment making the procedure reliably effective with an extremely low rate of Lasik complications, two specialist consultants in ISH are helping their patients to undergo the painless procedure and throw away their spectacles for good.
Dr. Lee Mun Toong and Dr. Lam Fook Shin are using the Zeiss Workstation from Carl Zeiss Meditech, a new refractive surgery device for blade-free cornea flap creation, giving patients from Ipoh, a new alternative for bladeless Lasik.
IE: What does Lasik Do?
Dr. Lam: The first step with Lasik is to have a thin corneal flap made to reveal the tissue that will be reshaped to correct your nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. There are two main methods to create a corneal flap; a microkeratome with a metal blade, or a femtosecond laser such as the VisuMax which is bladeless using a very accurately focused laser beam which is guided through to the cornea in a computerized treatment that is unique to each patient.
IE: Which specific advantages does the VisuMax procedure provide?
Dr. Lee: A significant feature of the VisuMax is that it uses a curved contact interface that attaches to the cornea during the treatment. The cornea is only slightly flattened, which prevents unnecessarily high intraocular pressure and stress to your eyes. This provides maximum comfort and allows you to see throughout the entire procedure, unlike with microkeratomes or other femtosecond lasers, where your vision is “blacked out” for awhile and patients have reported feeling uncomfortable pressure.
Due to the Zeiss high performance optics, the laser beam is guided very precisely to the desired depth, resulting in most accurate flap thickness. In addition, the laser beam is directed in a very focused manner which allows the doctor to apply only minimum laser energy to the eye during the treatment. As a result, the tissue outside the defined area of the cut remains untouched.
IE: Is the VisuMax procedure painful?
Dr. Lam: Due to the specific advantages of the VisuMax, the procedure is very gentle and patients often describe the VisuMax procedure like the insertion of a soft contact lens.
We use an eye drop to numb the eye prior to the procedure and most patients describe the VisuMax procedure, along with Lasik, as painless.
IE: How long does the VisuMax procedure take?
Dr. Lee: The creation of the corneal flap with the VisuMax takes about 20 to 30 seconds, while the complete Lasik procedure may take about 30 minutes for both eyes.
IE: Does every patient benefit from the advantages of the VisuMax procedure?
Dr. Lam: In general, patients who qualify for Lasik are also candidates for the VisuMax and thus will benefit from its accuracy and gentleness. In fact, since the VisuMax is able to create very thin corneal flaps, some patients who were previously not a candidate for Lasik, due to thin corneas, are now benefiting from the procedure thanks to the VisuMax. We doctors make the final determination.
IE: Who are good candidates for Lasik?
Dr. Lee: To have Lasik, you must:
Be 18 years of age or older.
Have healthy eyes free from retinal problems, corneal scars, and any eye disease.
Have nearsightedness within the range of treatment. The range is up to 13.00 D of sphere with up to -4.00 of astigmatism.
Have proof your vision has not changed more than one half diopters for at least one year before your pre-surgery exam.
Be fully informed about the risks and benefits of Lasik as compared to other treatments for nearsightedness.
Be able to lie flat without difficulty.
Be able to keep your eye fixed and follow the target and the blinking light during the entire Lasik process.
Be willing to sign an informed consent form provided by your doctor.
Be able to tolerate eye drops to numb your eye.
Dr. Lam: If you think you want Lasik, you will need an exam to make sure your eyes are healthy and suitable for Lasik. This would include a medical exam and eye history. Both eyes will be checked.
Dr. Lee: I was the first person to undergo the procedure to clear my short-sightedness and reading problems. It was almost painless and I started work the next day. Of course the experience will vary from person to person. I am so happy to have thrown away my glasses for good!