Lasik gaining popularity

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These days, the eyes increasingly have heavier burdens to bear. The eyes are used not only for reading but also for watching TV and looking at a computer screen for hours on end. Unless the eyes are taken good care of, their health will deteriorate. Like it or not, if your eyesight is poor, you will have to wear glasses or contact lens to see things properly.

Thankfully, people with poor eyesight can now turn to Lasik surgery. This technology improves the eyesight of people with myopia (near-sightedness), hipermetropia (far-sightedness) or astigmatism. When these problems are corrected with the help of Lasik technology, a person can feel more attractive after shedding their glasses or contact lenses. Lasik, short for Laser-In-Situ Keratomileusis, is the latest procedure in the ocular medicine world using cold laser radiation.

Lasik surgery has a high success rate, is safe, does not cause pain and takes no more than 20 minutes. Every medical procedure has side effects but in the case of Lasik surgery, side effects are almost zero. A patient may feel an uncomfortable sensation or slight pain during the one-day recovery period.

As this method is safe and practical, it has gained great popularity. In the past five years, quite a lot of clinics offering Lasik surgery have opened in Indonesia. These clinics include the Jakarta Eye Center, Laser Sight Centers Indonesia and the Nusantara Eye Clinic. Lasik has enjoyed greater popularity following intensive advertising and promotion in the mass media and seminars featuring celebrities.

In Indonesia, particularly in Jakarta, Lasik has enjoyed rapid development although it pace and use is not as fast as that of facoemulsification technology used in cataract surgery performed almost everywhere in Indonesia.

Prof. Abhykumar R. Vassada, a cataract surgeon from India, once voiced amazement upon discovering that one eye clinic in Indonesia was completely equipped and was as good as similar clinics abroad.

A bona fide clinic offers not only Lasik surgery but also integrated consultancy facilities as well as treatment for various other complaints, such as eye plastic surgery to correct functional disturbances (accidents or congenital defects), cosmetic eye plastic surgery (usually to beautify one’s appearance, involving eyelashes, eyebrows and eyelids and removing bags under the eyes), virectomy, glaucoma, diabetic retina trouble, cataracts, macula degeneration, strabismus, retina ablasio, etc.

There is no detailed data available on the number of people undergoing Lasik surgery in Indonesia. However, compared with neighboring countries like Malaysia and Singapore, Indonesia lags behind. The reason is that the number of people in the crŠme de la crŠme category in Indonesia — the market target of Lasik surgery — is still small. Eye clinics in Indonesia giving services related to Lasik surgery generally provide the facilities and comfort and make patients feel as though they are in a five-star hotel or an international medical facility. The cost ranges from Rp 10 million to Rp 20 million, depending on a patient’s particular complaint or case. (B. Gunawan)

The Jakarta Post, March 11, 2007