Wait-and-see attitude

Kenyans have adopted a wait-and-see attitude on this procedure. Contrary to sceptical myths surrounding laser eye treatment, there are neither blades used, needles nor injections. The procedure is performed while the patient is conscious.

“We do not give patients anesthesia, surgery is done when the patient is fully awake. Patients often engage doctors while the surgery is ongoing,” said Dr Kiumbura.

Eagle Eye Laser and Diagnostic Centre, an outcrop of Hurlingham eye clinic is one of few centres that offer specialised diagnostic and surgery clinic for Laser eye treatment.

The owners – three local eye consulting doctors and a supporting German doctor – have invested Sh100 million in latest eye treatment equipment. The laser machine – the first of its kind in Africa by the time of purchase in October 2010 – cost Sh40 million.

They have also opened their doors to other doctors who wish to use the facility to examine their clients.

“They are now coming to our clinic although at first they were apprehensive,” said Corien Herweijer marketing and operations manager at Eagle Eye Centre, adding that their client base has grown.

“We now attend to 20 to 25 patients in a day which was not the case before. Most of our clients are referrals from our former patients”.

Lasik surgery cost between Sh100,000 and Sh150,000 locally for both eyes and about Sh350,000 abroad. Although Laser surgery like any other procedure has disadvantages, Dr Kiumbura says that so far they have not encountered any complication.

Successful patients often have to reintroduce themselves to friends following the personality and physical transformation – they often appear different and more confident without spectacles.

Who qualifies for Lasik surgery (as it is popularly referred)? This surgery is administered only if one passes the pre-assessment test. One of the disqualifying factors is age. The treatment is only given to individuals aged between 18 and 60 years.

Clients with advanced diabetes, pregnant women, glaucoma patients and those with serous cornea ulcers are also disqualified.

Patients who have undergone the surgery take a maximum of 20 minutes to recover. It is a painless procedure that allows one to go back to work immediately, although a three-day rest is recommended.

Patients are also required to wear sun glasses with 400 UV ray capacity for two weeks. But Dr Kiumbura urges Kenyans to always wear sunglasses to avoid damaging their cornea.

“Exposure to UV light causes cataracts.

This is because lights penetrates to the cornea and damages it. It is a common condition in very dry places.” She however calls for caution when buying the sunglasses of the streets.

The clinic also specialises in treatment of Squint eyes, glaucoma, cataract, cross linking among other conditions.

This article first appeared in the Business Daily.

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