Lasik surgery: Freedom from glasses vs risks and choosing the right surgeon

Ophthalmologist highlighted medical authorities' safety and prioritisation of Lasik surgery and warned against taking advice from unverified sources on platforms like TikTok.

01 Jun 2024 08:02am
Photo for illustration purposes only. - 123RF
Photo for illustration purposes only. - 123RF

SHAH ALAM - Many people hesitate to undergo Lasik surgery, commonly called laser eye surgery or laser vision correction due to cost, fear, uncertainty about results, and safety concerns.

However, an ophthalmologist and surgeon at IKONIK Eye Specialist Centre Datuk Dr Muhaya Mohammad shared that many patients regret not undergoing Lasik surgery earlier.

She stressed the freedom from glasses or contact lenses, particularly during activities like swimming or religious pilgrimages.

While strongly advocating for Lasik for suitable adults (aged 18 and above), Dr Muhaya also recommended alternative vision correction options like multifocal intraocular lenses for those over 48 with cataracts.

She cautioned contact lens wearers about the risks of improper use.

"I had a 15-year-old patient who had to take the exam at a hospital due to an eye infection from contact lenses.

"People who neglect contact lens hygiene and sleep with them are at high risk for eye infections. Scarred corneas are permanent, and you risk blindness," she said.

Dr Muhaya emphasised her preference for Lasik surgery over contact lenses, stating that she and her family members, including her daughter and husband, have undergone the procedure.

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"I had Lasik surgery myself in August 2008," she added.

Safety First, Information Literacy Next

She highlighted medical authorities' safety and prioritisation of Lasik surgery and warned against taking advice from unverified sources on platforms like TikTok.

"Listen to professionals whose qualifications you can verify.

"Information is just information; cheap information can lead to misinformation, which is not the same as experience," she added.

Dr Muhaya also recounted how her identity was used in a scam involving a Japanese eye drop that falsely claimed to cure astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia for less than RM200.

"How can a machine costing RM1 to RM2 million be compared to this?" she questioned.

Choosing a Reputable Lasik Surgeon

She offered tips for those considering Lasik surgery, recommending reputable clinics and thorough vetting of surgeons.

Patients should undergo seven assessment procedures to determine their risk level for safe surgery.

"Safety is our primary concern with surgeries," the ophthalmologist assured.

Lasik, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a type of refractive surgery performed to correct vision problems like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

It aims to reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses by reshaping the cornea using a laser.

Prominent figures like actress Jennifer Aniston, NBA superstar LeBron James, and golfer Tiger Woods have had successful Lasik surgeries.

However, medical negligence can occur, leading to lawsuits over complications such as persistent vision problems post-surgery.

For instance, the surgeon who performed Lasik on Woods was sued for over $1 million by patient David Cantalupo in 2006.

Another patient claimed $1.6 million after developing corneal ectasia, a condition where the cornea is damaged post-surgery, in 2007, according to the New Jersey Law Journal.