CHENNAI: In what will surely prove to be a game-changer, a Lasik Laser will be bought and installed at the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology (RIO) and Government Ophthalmic Hospital in Egmore. Lasik is a laser-based eye surgery that can reshape the eye’s cornea and permanently remove the need to wear spectacles or contact lenses.
Only select private hospitals like Dr Agarwal’s and Sankara Nethralaya have had lasik lasers till now. “We have been requesting the government for funds for a laser for a couple of years now and this is a dream come true,” said a doctor at RIO.
In an order issued 10 days ago, the State Government has approved the purchase of a Lasik laser machine at a cost of Rs 3.85 crore, through the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation. “It is the CM’s vision to bring the best and latest technology and make it available for common people, and this is the latest thing that we have managed,” said Director of Medical Education Dr S Geethalakshmi. “The global tender process will begin very soon and the right manufacturer will be selected to supply the machine. After the negotiations and training is initiated, we will have the machine shipped, duly cleared by Customs and installed at the hospital,” she added. If all goes well, the laser may well be installed within a month or two.
The funding for the lasik laser will come from the money procured by the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital through the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme. Where lasik surgeries can help correct vision for people who have eyesight power up to 8 safely, the cost factor is what has kept it out of reach of the average person. However, though surgeries can cost anywhere between `60,000 - 1 lakh in the private sector, it will be done free of charge at the Government Eye Hospital.
Dr Amar Agarwal of Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospitals, who has been a pioneer with bringing lasik to the people of the city, welcomed the move. “Lasik can help a lot of people to not just get rid of spectacles, but also regain their confidence,” he said.