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Times of India
18 June 2010
By Pratibha Masand
Mumbai, Induia

Earlier, only those who could afford to shell out a heavy sum could get corrective Lasik surgery for their eye number. This is soon going to change. That’s because the government–run J J Hospital had become the first to get an Excimer Lasik machine. It will now be possible for Mumbaikars to get a corrective surgery done – at affordable prices.

While the surgery costs anywhere between Rs 25,000 and Rs 40,000 in a private setup, one would have to pay Rs 7,000 for an operation on both the eyes at J J Hospital. “In Lasik surgery, we open a portion of the cornea and perform laser on the inner portion. This corrects the number of the eye, after which, the person need not wear spectacles or contact lens,” said Dr Ragini Parekh, head of ophthalmology in J J Hospital.

Dr T P Lahane, dean of J J Hospital, says the surgery will be done for free for those who are below the poverty line. “People with numbers up to 12 minus and 10 plus can get them corrected. Also, opacities can be removed from the eyes. This is not cosmetic surgery, but theraputic surgery,” he says.

However, not everyone with a number can get it done. “It cannot be performed on children. Only those above 20 years of age can get the surgery done. Even then, there are many on whom the surgery cannot be performed depending on the thickness of their cornea,” said Dr Parekh.

The machine, though, has taken almost eight years to come to J J Hospital. “We had started asking the government for it in year 2002. It has come at a budget of Rs 3.61 crore. But, at least now, patients from the lower economic group can get rid of their spectacles,” said Dr Lahane.

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