CebuDoc acquires new refractive machine, first in Southeast Asia

IN JUST nine seconds people suffering from nearsightedness and astigmatism will have their visions corrected with the use of the Visumax 800-SMILE pro, Cebu Doctors’ University-Hospital’s (CebuDoc) latest machine acquisition for refractive surgery.

This new refractive machine, which costs the hospital some P50 million in investments for the entire system, is the first in Southeast Asia. It is an upgrade from the Visumax 500 earlier acquired by the hospital in the middle of the pandemic, whose eye laser procedure takes a bit longer at 23 seconds.

CebuDoc’s president and chairman Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III said Visumax 800 is the most advanced and robotic-assisted laser vision correction technology. He said it offers more advanced features than Visumax 500 and provides faster and more precise vision correction in a more comfortable manner.

These refractive machines correct eye vision of nearsighted patients with grades as high as 1,000 and as low as .75 and astigmatism as high as 500. In the next few months, Larrazabal said a software will be available for farsightedness.

“It is a feat that I take pride in as a Cebuano because we can now say that Cebu has an eye care innovation at par with global standards,” said Larrazabal, during the Visumax 800-SMILE pro launch on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.

Larrazabal is the first eye surgeon in Southeast Asia to perform eye laser procedure in nine seconds.

“This new technology (Visumax 800) could not only deal with a faster time of nine seconds. You will also rarely see problems like the stoppage of treatment because it is so fast. In a blink of an eye, you are done. Aside from that it is very accurate,” he said.

CebuDoc brought the SMILE procedure to Cebu back in 2021. It’s the most advanced state-of-the-art laser vision correction option since Lasik (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis), which eliminates the need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Some 1,000 patients have been treated under the SMILE procedure and Larrazabal noted that no incidence of grade regression has been reported so far.

Larrazabal said with SMILE, patients can sleep better after the surgery and can resume their daily activities the next day, including intense sports.

“The procedure offers faster recovery with no downtime,” he said, adding that this procedure is ideal for those who don’t have the luxury of time to extend their recovery periods.

“The most important is the recovery, they can do anything the next day, swimming, sports, if you accidentally rub your eye nothing will happen, you can take a shower right away, and sleep in any position, a lot of patients like that, they want to do their normal activities right away,” Larrazabal explained.

This laser eye surgery can be administered to patients 18 years old and above, but exemptions are given to patients who are actively doing sports with consent from their parents, said Larrazabal.

The Visumax 800 procedure costs P140,000 for both eyes.