The long and the short of laser vision correction in the UAE
Assessment is the vital starting point before undergoing or re-doing laser corrective eye surgery, advises Moorfields
6 December 2012 (Dubai, United Arab Emirates): Residents in the region now have access to the highest quality and most advanced laser corrective eye surgery – conveniently and affordably – right here in the UAE, but care should be taken to undergo a thorough and professional patient assessment beforehand, according to experts at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai (Moorfields).
In the UAE, Lasik eye surgery has become routine for those as young as 21 years and it is often also a possible option for presbyopic patients after age 40, provided their refractive error is within a certain range. Quick, painless and with a high success rate, laser corrective surgery has become a routine medical procedure but patient assessment is still an essential step before committing to treatment.
“Laser corrective eye surgery is very accessible in the UAE but the consultation process should determine whether or not a patient qualifies for the surgery and there should be an in-depth examination of each patient to assess their suitability for corrective surgery. Without this, there is a risk of complications arising from the surgery,” says Dr Edmondo Borasio, Consultant Corneal and Refractive Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai. “Especially in the Gulf area, one of the possible risks of LASIK is the development of keratoconus (i.e. progressive corneal weakening) in patients with genetically predisposed corneas, so great care should be taken in confirming eligibility.”
“Patients who have had a stable vision prescription for at least one year and who do not have eye diseases, severely dry eyes and/or weak corneas, are typical candidates for corrective eye surgery.” He adds. “Anyone over the age of 21 is eligible for the procedure but laser vision correction after the age of 40 may require a small compromise between near and distance vision.
‘Lasik’ actually stands for ‘Laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis’ which is a procedure that reshapes the cornea. Lasik eye surgery is used to treat patients with near sightedness, short sightedness, far sightedness and astigmatism. Before the surgery begins, a local anaesthetic is applied using special eye drops so the patient will not feel anything. During the surgery a small flap is created with the femtosecond laser on the superficial layers of the cornea, and the underlying corneal tissue is sculpted using an excimer laser. The flap is then put back in place and carefully realigned.
During the operation, the patient does not see or feel very much; the procedure is quick, lasting just a few minutes and the overall time spent in theatre is around 10 minutes, although surgical time is often just a couple of minutes. After the surgery, the eyes can feel a little ‘scratchy’ for 6-8 hours and recovery can be expected in less than a day. Overall there is around 98% success rate with the procedure and patients can see a major improvement immediately after surgery. The majority of the LASIK patients have an almost complete recovery already the next day. Patients not suitable for LASIK because of thin or irregular corneas can instead undergo a surface ablation (LASEK) which is equally effective but takes longer to recover (around 1 week in most cases).
All the latest techniques used for the correction of Myopia, Hypermetropia and Astigmatism are available at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, including IntraLase, WaveFront LASIK, LASEK, PRK and Epi-LASIK. Dr Borasio has also particular expertise in the management of complications arising from previous refractive surgery.
Notes to editors
Laser Refractive Surgery
All the latest techniques used for the correction of Myopia, Hypermetropia and Astigmatism are available at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, including IntraLase, WaveFront LASIK, LASEK, PRK and Epi-LASIK. The Hospital is also a referral centre for the management of complications from previous refractive surgery. During a LASIK procedure, a very thin flap has to be created on the front of the cornea before the corrective laser is applied.
Until a few years ago, LASIK flaps could only be created with a mechanical blade called “microkeratome”. Nowadays however, with the latest advances in technology it is possible to create these flaps entirely with the laser. Such a laser is called femtosecond IntraLase and allows to “cut” with a precision in the order of 15 microns (1 micron is 1/1000 of a mm). Greater precision also means reduced risks of complications compared to using the blade.
About Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai
Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai (MEHD) is the first overseas branch of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the oldest and one of the largest centres for ophthalmic treatment, teaching and research in the world. Located at the Al Razi Medical Complex in Dubai Health Care City, the facility provides day case surgery and outpatient diagnostic and treatment services, for a variety of surgical and non-surgical eye conditions. MEHD will also raise standards for research and teaching in the region through its partnership with the Harvard Medical School Dubai Center. MEHD is owned and managed by the NHS Foundation Trust, and maintains close links with London to ensure that patients in the GCC receive the best eye care treatment in the world.
Contact: Jonathan Walsh