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Biz Health: LASIK – Five questions to ask before going under the knife

In the quest for clearer and better vision, some people opt to go under the knife. Is LASIK the right way to go? Here’s an insight about the procedure that gives a brighter sight.

Today’s bespectacled consumers are presented with many choices — there are varied forms of eye surgery available in the market. LASIK or laser in situ keratomileusis has been the treatment of choice for most patients suffering from myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. This type of refractive surgery is also considered as one of today’s most successful forms of eye surgery in Singapore. But like any other medical operation, consumers need to determine first the benefits and risks involved in undergoing the procedure.

How does LASIK work?

The surgeon uses laser or microkeratome to create a thin, circular flap in the cornea. The surgeon then pulls back the flap to expose the underlying corneal tissue, and then removes some corneal tissue underneath using an excimer laser. The excimer laser uses a cool ultraviolet light beam to precisely remove or ablate very tiny bits of tissue from the cornea to reshape it. When the cornea is reshaped in the right way, the flap is then laid back in place, cover- ing the area where the corneal tissue was removed.

LASIK is an ambulatory procedure — you walk into the surgery center, have the procedure and walk out again. In fact, the actual surgery usually takes less than five minutes, and you’re awake the whole time.

Is LASIK for you?

Refractive surgery is not for everyone. If you are considering

LASIK, you need to choose a LASIK surgeon. The SingLasik Centre of the Singapore National Eye Centre has a dedicated team of refractive surgeons who are fully certified and accredited to perform LASIK. Having a trusted surgeon will help determine whether you’re a good candidate for LASIK. An eye examination will be performed to determine eye health, the kind of vision correction required, and how much laser ablation is needed.

Moreover, there are certain questions you should ask your- self before considering LASIK :

Am I ready to accept a low but real risk of surgical complica- tions? Even though modern LASIK is extremely safe with rare complications, there are times when unavoidable complications may occur that can negatively affect your vision.

Has my vision been stable long enough to have LASIK? It is natural to have minor changes in your prescription but if your prescription continues to get progressively stronger each year, then you may not be a good candidate for refractive surgery.

Am I healthy enough to undergo this surgery? Certain advanced autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, may influence postoperative healing.

How will this impact my recreational activities? People who engage in contact sports such as boxing, martial arts or wrestling may not be a good candidate for LASIK. In these instances, other refractive procedures, such as surface oblation, may be more appropriate choices.

Am I too young or too old to have LASIK? Patients under 18 years of age may be unstable enough for LASIK, and older patients may begin to develop cataracts or other eye health issues that preclude them from undergoing LASIK.

Again, the best way to determine these things is to have a complete eye examination from a trusted eye surgeon. With LASIK surgery, most people’s vision improves right away, but some find that their vision gradually improves even more over the next few days or even weeks.

To learn more about LASIK, contact the Singapore National Eye Center at +65 6227 7266 or visit www.singlasik.com.sg.

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