In this article, I discuss a procedure called Super Sight Surgery.
What is Super Sight Surgery? It is a procedure wherein a surgeon replaces the natural lenses in your eyes with artificial lenses by performing an intra-ocular lens implantation procedure. Sounds scary and kind of Sci-Fi, doesn’t it? It’s not. This procedure has been performed in the U.S. since the 1950’s. It is the procedure used to treat cataracts. While in the U.S. you must be diagnosed with cataracts to be a candidate, in Thailand you can do this as an elective procedure if you are a candidate.
I’m 53 years old. I had Lasik in 2002, while I was still in Special Forces, to correct my vision. Since around 2012, my vision had deteriorated again to the point that I needed to wear reading glasses...again. Then a few years later, I noticed that my vision wasn’t accommodating quickly when I changed focus from a near object (e.g. reading) to a distant object (e.g. someone walking towards me. It got worse, I would be driving and focusing on the road in front of me, then when I glanced down to see my speed or something on the instrument panel, it would be blurry causing me to stay focused on it longer than normal, which meant I wasn’t looking at the road. This was all measured in seconds, or even milliseconds, but in a high-speed environment those milliseconds make a difference. This was all due to my natural lenses becoming cloudy, less elastic and less responsive with age.
My wife and I both decided to find out if we were candidates for Super Sight Surgery, which is generically called Intra-Ocular Lens (IOL) Implant surgery. The doctor did a very thorough eye exam and interview. It turned out that I also had cataracts in both eyes, which explained the cloudiness. Cataracts affect your visual acuity, make things look cloudy, and colors look dull and washed out. I was surprised when the doctor told me I had them. It happens so gradually that I had no idea I had developed such a condition.
What’s the short story version of the procedure we had? Keep in mind that we had this procedure done in Thailand. In the U.S., the sequence of events and timeline could be somewhat different. Thailand is a great destination for medical tourism. They have state of the art facilities and highly trained medical personnel. Most of all, the cost of medical care is much less than many other places.
(Image #1 – Notice Aliya and I are both wearing glasses here)
We went and had the eye exam and interview at 8:00am. We were told right there, after the exam, that we were both candidates for Super Sight Surgery and we were asked if we would like to have the procedure. We both looked at each other and said, “Heck yeah! Let’s do it.” The nurses began putting in eye drops. Lots and lots of eye drops to prepare us for the surgery. At 12:00pm my wife went into surgery, then I followed her at 1:00pm. The doctor inserted a multi-focal lens produced by Carl Zeiss, the legendary optics company. By 2:30pm we were both in our hospital room. Really, it was more like a suite in a 5-star hotel. We stayed in the hospital overnight and the nurses continued the eye drop routine – antibiotic and analgesic drops. The next morning, the doctor examined us and we were both doing fine. We were discharged with instructions to put in eye drops – lots of eye drops – and given a follow-up appointment for day five post-surgery. One day five, we went back for our follow-up and we were both doing better than expected.
(Image #2 – Aliya just finished the procedure. I’m on my way in.)
(Image #3 – During my procedure)
(Image #4 – Seconds after my procedure.)
(Image #5 – Follow-up exam the next morning, prior to discharge.)
What were the results? Immediately after surgery, we could see near perfect at reading distance. We could easily read size 4 Arial font on a computer. The farther the focal distance was, the blurrier our vision and lights had very pronounced halos. I was stunned at the vividness of colors. Remember, I had cataracts in both eyes so it was like I was looking through a dirty window prior to the surgery. Now my windows are perfectly clean. The doctor explained that we would go through a period of neuro-adaptation where our brains would gradually adjust to our new lens implants. Over the next month, our vision continued to improve as our brains learned which portion of the lens to use for various situations – near and far visual acuity improved dramatically. We still had the halos around lights, but they had decreased a bit. At our 30-day checkup, we both had 20/20 vision near and far. Since then, our vision has continued to improve in small increments – decreases in the halo effects and sharper images at greater distances.
How much did it cost? The surgical procedure was around $6,000 for both eyes. If you are diagnosed with cataracts or dysfunctional lens syndrome, your medical insurance may cover most or all the cost. Over a lifetime, some folks might spend less than that on eye glasses, contacts, and/or other surgical procedures that produce temporary results – or they may spend more. The difference is any of those solutions are temporary ones. Super Sight Surgery (IOL implant surgery) is permanent.
A close friend of mine who had this procedure five years previous said to me when I asked him if he was happy with the results, “Tim, this is the best money I’ve ever spent on myself. And Bro… I’ve spent a lot of money on myself.”
Writing this article, it’s been four months since we had the procedure and everything is great! Last week, I went to an ophthalmologist here in the U.S. to have a follow-up and get a second opinion of the work done in Thailand. The doctor here was impressed with the skill of the surgeon in Thailand and the results he achieved. He commented to me, “Your surgeon did an excellent job!”
If this sounds good like something you’re interested in, I recommend contacting a doctor and considering it. If Super Sight Surgery is not for you, or you’re not a candidate, you still need reliable vision ALL the time, especially in an emergency. I recommend reading our article, Eyes Don’t Fail Me Now! Can Your Vision Support You Effectively In An Emergency?
For those interested, we had the surgery at Bangkok Hospital Pataya. The doctor’s name is Doctor Somchai and he’s one of the leading surgeons in the world for this procedure. If you’d like to explore this possibility, his receptionist’s contact information is:
Bangkok Hospital Pattaya
301 Moo 6 Sukhumvit Road KM 143, Naklua
Tel: (66) 38 259999 EXT 6062
Fax: (66) 38 259919