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American Eye Center Vietnam
5th Floor, Crescent Plaza
105 Ton Dat Tien Street, District 7
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel: +84 8 5413 6758
ALL ABOUT LASIK
Ever since the Lasik procedure emerged 20 years ago, almost 20 million people have had their vision improved with laser treatment.
Lasik – laser in-situ keratomileusis – is a painless 15-minute procedure that frees one of the need for glasses or contact lenses permanently.
It involves creating a flap in the cornea either with a blade or laser, and subsequent laser treatment to reshape the cornea, hence sharpening one’s vision.
The cornea is the transparent outer layer that covers the front of the eye.
Dr Nam Tran Pham, the ophthalmologist and medical director of the American Eye Center Viet Nam, answers some common questions about the popular procedure.
Why go for Lasik?
It is a proven, safe and effective way of correcting refractive errors – myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
The key benefit is that of convenience. You do not have to spend time cleaning contact lenses or stay away from certain sports.
You also save money in the long run as you no longer have to regularly change your spectacles or buy contact lenses and solutions.
More importantly, you no longer have problems associated with improper contact lens care. For instance, corneal infections commonly occur with prolonged lens wear and inadequate cleaning.
Who is suitable?
You must be at least 18 years old, with no increase in your glasses prescription for at least 1 year. You are never too old for Lasik, so long as an ophthalmologist assesses you to be suitable.
However, it is not advisable for people with an existing eye disease, like glaucoma and cataracts. It may not suit people with irregularly-shaped or thin corneas.
Can myopia ever return after eyesight has been corrected by Lasik?
Myopia can either return naturally – a person’s myopia may continue to increase slightly over his lifetime – or when the eyes are over- or under-corrected after the initial Lasik surgery.
Enhancement surgery can be done for both cases. This is like a ‘top-up’ of the laser treatment and there is no need to cut the cornea again.
This cannot be immediate – it can be done three or four months after Lasik, when your eyesight has stabilized.
On average, about 5 per cent of patients may need a re-treatment to obtain perfect vision.
What are the common side effects?
Dry eyes, seeing halos and starbursts at night. However, these symptoms are temporary and will fade after a few weeks.
What are the possible risks?
During surgery, there may be complications involving the corneal flap. In this case, the surgery is likely to be postponed for a few months.
Severe complications, such as infections, are extremely rare – averaging one in 5,000. If detected early enough, the problem can be fixed and good vision can still be attained.
What steps are involved?
You will first go through a three-hour evaluation to assess your suitability for the procedure.
The procedure is an outpatient one, you do not have to be hospitalized.
During surgery, your eyes will be numbed with eye drops. The procedure takes about 15 minutes for both eyes.
After the operation, the patient has to wear protective eye glasses. Lubricating and antibiotic eye drops are also given.
Three follow-up appointments are required – the following day, one week later, and one to three months later.
What happens the day after the procedure?
You can expect your eyesight to improve by 80 to 90 per cent. There is no need for you to stay at home and you can go back to light office work.
What should I avoid doing?
Avoid touching the eye and definitely no vigorous rubbing. The corneal flap is still unstable in the first few days after surgery and it may get displaced. However, should that happen, the flap can be easily realigned.
Stay away from swimming and contact sports for at least a month.
Will there be any problems if I suffer from other eye diseases in the future?
No. Lasik does not hinder you from receiving standard treatment for other eye conditions in the future. It does not lower your chances of successful surgery, nor does it increase your risk of getting an eye disease.