Many expats considering corrective eye procedures have concerns or questions about getting LASIK surgery in China. Below you’ll find answers to the most important Frequently Asked Questions in this regard.
1) Is LASIK surgery safe in China?
LASIK surgery safety isn’t based on geography, but rather on the facility and the surgeon, so evaluating LASIK surgery options in China would be done in the same way as in the USA, the UK or any other country.
Some of the most important ways to assess the suitability of a clinic for performing your LASIK surgery include:
a) Evaluating the facilities of the clinic.
A trustworthy clinic would be more than happy to guide you around their facility and provide information about their practitioners’ qualifications and experience.
Visiting a clinic that is affiliated with an academic medical centre (e.g. a teaching hospital) greatly increases your chance of receiving the best surgery.
In the field of LASIK surgery, technology is constantly being updated in order to improve the effectiveness of LASIK procedures. Finding a clinic affiliated with an academic medical centre, such as a teaching hospital or one that is well-known for advanced technology, greatly increases your chance of receiving the best surgery.
b) Qualifying whether a surgeon should perform LASIK surgery
Choose a doctor who has performed LASIK surgery for no less than 3 years and has performed no less than 500 surgeries in this time.
Check to see if the practitioner is a member of any medical association or society – chances are these doctors are keeping up to date with the latest technologies in their fields.
2) What is the newest technique for LASIK surgery?
LASIK surgery is a type of refractive eye surgery. This category of surgery accounts for around 90% of vision correction surgeries. However, some of the newest refractive eye surgery procedures includes sub-Bowman’s keratomileusis (SBK) and Custom Wavefront LASIK.
SBK is similar to LASIK, yet there is a lower risk of it causing conditions like dry eye and other complications. It is smaller scale, more comfortable and provides a faster visual recovery rate. SBK is the advancement in refractive surgery that curtails the risks that affect many peoples decision on whether to have eye corrective surgery or not.
Wavefront technology uses a laser to reshape the cornea with minimal impact on its natural profile, reducing the risk of glare and difficulty seeing at night, thereby improving your prospects for optimal vision. However, if you have thin corneas then you may not be a good candidate as there is more corneal tissue removed with this procedure. There is also a maximum degree of correction that Wavefront can achieve, so patients with more extreme myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism may not be suitable.
3) How long will the surgery take?
The procedure should take around 15 minutes per eye, with an actual surgery time of +-1 minute per eye. The total time spent at the hospital or clinic will be around 60-90 minutes.
You should allow 24 hours to rest afterwards (with as much of it spent sleeping as possible), after which your vision should be quite clear. It can take up to 1 month for you to feel the full benefits of the surgery.
4) Is LASIK surgery painful?
You will not feel pain due to the anaesthetic drops that are administered pre-surgery. Afterwards, you might be prescribed medication if necessary. Generally, LASIK patients report mild discomfort for a day or two. The most common feeling is itchiness, as if sand were in the eye. This minor discomfort passes quickly. Painkillers can be taken if necessary.
5) Am I a good candidate for LASIK surgery?
Only a qualified eye care practitioner can determine whether or not you are a candidate for LASIK, but below are some guidelines:
- Everyone’s eyes have a different shape and structure, for example, thick or thin corneas, round or rugby ball-shaped eyes
- You must have healthy eyes, which includes not having glaucoma, infection, cataracts, severe dry eye, or any other condition that would affect your post-op recovery.
- You must be at least 18 years old or older for some procedures and at least 21 for others.
- Your vision must be stable for at least a year before surgery.
- Pregnant and/or nursing women need to wait until hormones are at normal levels as this can affect the shape of your eye.
- You cannot have a degenerative or autoimmune disease, since this would affect healing.
6) What are the steps involved in the LASIK procedure?
Assessment: Firstly, you need to have an initial consultation to learn more about LASIK surgery. If you wish to have a pre-surgery examination straight after this initial consultation, you’ll need to inform the nurse or receptionist in advance as this will require an extended appointment. If the results from the examination show that you are a suitable candidate for LASIK, the doctor will schedule an appointment for the surgery.
Surgery: You will sit in a reclining chair and have anaesthetic eye-drops dropped into your eye, with your head positioned under the laser. A special eyelid speculum (retainer) will be used to keep your eyelids open.
An extremely thin flap will then be created on the surface of the cornea and folded back to allow the laser to remove some corneal tissue. The flap will then be smoothed back in place. The laser will be adjusted for your particular prescription using a computer. You will be asked to focus on a target light for a few brief moments while the laser painlessly pulses light to your eye, reshaping your cornea.
Recovery: LASIK is an outpatient procedure, so you’ll be able to go home with 2 hours of arriving at the clinic. You should arrange for someone to drive you home as your vision may still be blurred for a while afterwards.
7) What are the risks of LASIK surgery?
Complications from LASIK that cause permanent damage are very rare. Even in cases where complications do occur, these can generally be resolved through one of many treatment or vision enhancement options.
Consult your eye care professional for further details about the possible risks involved with LASIK surgery.
8) I have more questions about LASIK. Who should I ask?
Get the most reliable information about LASIK surgery from a surgeon that meets the criteria as mentioned above. All you have to do is make an appointment.