Monday, January 11, 2010

Laser eye surgery to be available in Brunei

THOSE seeking to correct short-sightedness completely will soon no longer need to travel overseas for laser vision correction as the necessary equipment of such procedure will be available in the Sultanate.

Optimax, a Malaysian eye specialist company, will soon be bringing its state-of-the-art equipment for laser refractive surgery to Brunei. The breakthrough All-Laser-Lasik (Laser Assisted In situ Keratomileusis) technology uses a high-precision Femtosecond Laser to treat common 'refractive errors' such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism.

"With the arrival of these machines, Bruneians no longer need to travel overseas for cosmetic eye surgery, which for many years, Bruneians had to travel to Malaysia to have their eyesight corrected," said Farris Hj Abdul Rahman, managing director of Optimax (Brunei Branch).

"Bringing the machines down here may be an expensive process, but will greatly benefit Bruneians in the long run as it is more convenient and cost-effective for patients to be treated locally," he told The Brunei Times.

Farris said that arrangements to bring the technology into Brunei is under way as legal procedures have to be carried out in order to operate the service in hospitals in the Sultanate.

He hoped that the implementation of the equipment will be available in the region sometime in the middle of the year.

During a public education seminar organised by Optimax Brunei yesterday, guests were presented with a basic understanding on modern refractive eye surgeries delivered by a guest speaker from Malaysia, Dr Norazlina Bachik, resident ophthalmologists for Optimax Shah Alam Branch and laser vision correction expert.

"The goal of any refractive surgical procedure is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses. The overwhelming majority of patients who have had laser refractive surgery with Optimax over the years are fully satisfied with their results," said Dr Norazlina.

"Lasik is widely considered as the procedure of choice for correction of most cases of myopia (short-sightedness). Our 'All-Laser-Lasik' procedure uses a highly precise laser, the Femtosecond Laser which precisely delivers the laser energy directly to the outer surface of the eye."

She said that safety is the most valuable advantage of All-Laser-Lasik and the main reason why Optimax invested in this expensive technology.

"This procedure is completely blade-free, unlike the conventional alternatives. With the accuracy and safety checks offered by Femtosecond laser, major complications do not occur and surgeons can avoid the complications related to surgical blade problems."

"By having the technology here in Brunei, we are giving Bruneians the treatment options that have been available in the world closer to them, and freeing our patients suffering from refractive errors from glasses and contact lenses once and for all," she said.

Feeling strongly about contributing her expertise to the advancement of laser vision correction, Dr Norazlina serves as a part-time lecturer in Ophthalmology in the Medical Faculty of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. She also has special interest in the subspecialty of cornea and refractive surgery and has performed more than 5,000 laser vision corrections and 3,000 cataract procedures.

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