One of my friends in America recently had LASIK surgery performed on his eyes. While on the voice chat he was going excitedly reeling off the benefits of LASIK surgery that he has discovered and the ultra modern cutting edge technology that performs the surgery. Over the course of our discussions, we were wondering if the same benefits could be made available via Telemedicine for Indian citizens.
LASIK, an acronym for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a form of refractive laser eye surgery procedure performed by ophthalmologists intended for correcting vision. The procedure is usually a preferred alternative to photorefractive keratectomy, PRK, as it requires less time for full recovery, and the patient experiences less pain overall - Wikipedia definition
The operation is performed with the patient awake and mobile. Lasik is performed in two steps. The initial step is to create a flap of corneal tissue. The second step of the procedure is to use an excimer laser (193 nm) to remodel the cornea. The laser vaporizes tissue in a finely controlled manner. No burning with heat or actual cutting is required to ablate the tissue. The layers of tissue removed are tens of micrometers thick. Currently manufactured excimer lasers use a computer system that tracks the patient's eye position up to 4,000 times per second, redirecting laser pulses for precise placement. After the laser has reshaped the cornea, the Lasik flap is repositioned over the treatment area by the surgeon. The flap remains in position by natural adhesion until healing is completed.
Since the whole surgery is done through a computer controlled laser, the doctor's presence either in the next room or the next continent is of no practical importance. This surgery, though costly right now, will definitely become a routine surgery in due time. The benefits of such surgery that would help millions of myopic and hyper myopic patients are incalculable. If ICT ( Information Communication Technology ) can be harnessed to provide the right infrastructure and internet bandwidth, LASIK can turn out to be a major thrust area in the field of telemedicine in the developing world countries like India.