THE LATEST in eye treatment technology that would free people from using eyeglasses and contact lenses is now available at the UST Hospital.

The Allegretto Wave Excimer Lasik (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) System, which the UST Hospital bought from Germany last April, boasts of an 8.5-second refracting ability which can restore a person’s vision to 20/20 with minimal risk of corneal drying or swelling due to bacterial infection.

“Right now, only UST has this kind of Lasik machine in the Philippines that is safe and with a close to a hundred per cent accuracy in treating vision defects,” said Dr. Jessica Marie Abaño, cornea and refractive surgery specialist of the UST Eye Center.

Most hospitals in the country are still using the Mel 80 Lasik machine which takes more than 20 seconds to repair eyesight problems, she added.

Moreover, the Allegreto Lasik System is the only device equipped with neurotrack technology that guides the specialist to a more accurate surgical targeting of the eye’s cornea. The cornea is the transparent coat of the eyeball that covers the iris and the pupil.

“Usually, when one undergoes a Lasik treatment, the shape of the cornea is changed,” Abaño said.

A defective cornea is the reason why people cannot see things clearly without their glasses. To repair a vision defect, surgery is performed by cutting a flap on the cornea to facilitate laser treatment. The flap is later restored to its original position at the end of the surgery.

“There is a 90 per cent probability that we can immediately restore the patient’s vision to 20/20. In rare instances, the treatment would depend on the healing progress of the individual,” Abaño said.

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The vision-correcting machine has treated more than a hundred patients whose ages ranged from 20 to 52 years old.

Abaño, however, said that the surgery is exclusive to patients above 18 years old, diagnosed with refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and presbyopia (astigmatism). The surgery is also applicable to patients wearing prescription glasses and contact lenses for at least a year and in stable condition, with no history of an autoimmune disease, an illness that occurs when body tissues are attacked by its own immune system.

She declined to disclose the cost of treatment but Abaño said the hospital is working out a way to give UST students a discount.

“We bought the machine to cater to the Thomasian community and to prove that the UST Hospital is as competitive as the other hospitals in the Philippines,” Abaño said.

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