“You don’t wear glasses anymore?” This is a question that Apung, a young professional, was often asked by friends, and he always gave the same brief reply, “Thanks to laser treatment.”
Apung had his treatment a decade ago. Today the laser treatment that Muhammad Nurrahmansyah, nicknamed Apung, refers to is better known as “Lasik”, which stands for “Laser-In-Situ Keratomileusis” and has gained great popularity. This is a procedure that several hospitals in Jakarta and other major cities in Indonesia offer to improve one’s eyesight using cold laser radiation. With Lasik, poor eyesight can be improved so that one no longer needs to wear glasses, no matter whether far-sighted or near-sighted. Some people are uncomfortable wearing glasses, with only a few believing they are more attractive when wearing glasses.
Aryani also enjoys the great benefits of Lasik. A housewife living in Jakarta, she is grateful that she no longer needs to wear glasses. “Many of my friends were surprised to see me after I had Lasik treatment because they were used to seeing me wear thick glasses,” said Aryani, who had Lasik treatment seven years ago. Besides Apung and Aryani, many executives and celebrities have been able to abandon their glasses thanks to Lasik. Robby Tumewu, Helmi Yahya, Sarah Sechan, Rio Febrian and Nurul Arifin are but a few in this group.
Lasik first became known in Indonesia in the early 1990s. In Jakarta there are many places where you can have Lasik treatment done, such as the Jakarta Eye Center, Laser Sight Center and Nusantara Eye Clinic. Using sophisticated equipment, these clinics promise that they can identify, measure and correct eye problems accurately. A patient can have painless laser treatment in a very short time as an outpatient.
At the Jakarta Eye Center, Lasik is conducted in two stages. In the first stage, a flap (thin layer) in the cornea is made using laser rays. In the second stage, this flap is removed and laser rays are beamed onto the inner part of the cornea so that a new cornea surface forms. After this is done, the flap is returned to its original position and in three minutes it will automatically stick to the cornea, therefore requiring no stitching. “Lasik is painless and takes only a very short time,” said Aryani, who had Lasik done on her eyes at Jakarta Eye Center.
Anybody aged 18 years upwards may have Lasik with the exception of pregnant women or breast-feeding mothers. Prior to having Lasik, a patient must do away with his or her soft contact lenses for 14 days or hard contact lens for 30 days at a stretch.
For both eyes, Lasik takes less than 20 minutes. However, in such a brief span of time, a doctor must make a lot of very important decisions. That’s why it is wise to always entrust your Lasik treatment to an experienced eye health service center with complete facilities and reliable as well as experienced doctors.
Various providers of Lasik treatment in Indonesia use the latest technology. Allegretto Wave Eye-Q, which is claimed to be the world’s fastest Lasik machine, is used by the Jakarta Eye Center. Meanwhile, the Laser Sight Center Indonesia uses technology from Bausch & Lomb, a German company specifically producing all its own wavefront analyzer systems so that it can offer an integrated system called ZyOptix.
Dr. Sjakon G. Tahija, president director of PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya (ANJ) Healthcare Services Division, said that Nusantara Eye Clinic uses VISX Lasik technology with a VISX Star S4 Excimer Laser System and the WaveScan Wavefront System.
The latest technology used by various providers of Lasik treatment leads to a high level of public confidence. Nurul Arifin entrusted her eyesight to the Laser Sight Center Indonesia at Mal Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta while Apung and Aryani had their Lasik treatment at the Jakarta Eye Center.
Anyone wanting Lasik treatment so that they can throw away their glasses must be ready to dig deep into their pockets. In Indonesia, it costs between Rp 8 million and dozens of millions of rupiah to have Lasik done on one eye. The fee depends on the result of your doctor’s analysis of your eye problems requiring a Lasik solution.
High fees aside, it is obvious that many hospitals in Indonesia continue to improve their medical capability and technologies in an effort to provide health care services to the people in the middle to upper-class, who usually go overseas for medical treatment. Aside from Lasik, a service now available in many places in Indonesia, heart and stroke patients as well as patients with other internal organ disorders can enjoy speedy and easy help for their ailments.
Harapan Kita Hospital in Jakarta, for example, has a German-made Multi Slice CT Scan. Costing about euro 1 million, this instrument can speedily and accurately detect any damage in the internal organs.
The scan gives results of high accuracy because it can view the internal part of an organ up to 16 slices. Before being scanned, a patient is given an injection of a contrast substance so that the organs to be examined can be clearly viewed on the monitor. The patient lies down for the scan, which is painless. A scan of 16 slices of a particular organ enables the doctor to accurately diagnose a patient’s condition. In addition, the possibility of a future stroke can also be detected as the scanner can examine carefully the condition of a patient’s blood vessels.
The latest and sophisticated technology in CT Scan with 64 slices is also available at Medistra Hospital, Jakarta. With this machine, a doctor can view a person’s coronary heart blood vessels in a non-invasive manner (without using heart catheterization). Indonesians commonly go abroad for scans of this caliber, which can detect plaque (of cholesterol) that causes arteriosclerosis.
In Jakarta, a Multi-Slice CT Scan examination costs between Rp 500,000 and Rp 6 million. In Malaysia the cost ranges from Rp 5 million to Rp 16 million. Meanwhile, at the Singapore Heart, Stroke & Cancer center the cost ranges from S$5,000 to S$7,000.
Now that hi-tech medical equipment is available in Indonesia, there is no further need to travel abroad for medical treatment because there is sophisticated technology here. Traveling abroad for medical treatment entails a great outlay of money to cover the cost of treatment and accommodation, plus you may not enjoy the peace of mind that you may have when undergoing medical treatment at home. It is this factor that has become an opportunity for many hospitals to cash in on in providing services to patients who usually go abroad for medical treatment.[Asep Saefullah]
The Jakarta Post, Supplement – May 30, 2006