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The Eyes Have It: St. Peter's Eye Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand

More and more people travel to Thailand for healthcare. The leisure tourists take the opportunity to visit Thai doctors here for a minor treatment or those who choose to travel to Chiang Mai for specific medical treatment. St. Peter Eye Hospital is a fine example in the healthcare system serving this community with quality medical care.

The Saint Peter Eye Hospital was established in 1993, the first hospital specializing in Ophthalmology in northern Thailand, staffed by top eye surgeons, experienced nurses, and the very best in hi-tech equipment to meet the needs of those requiring expert eye care.

The hospital is geared to treat even the most complicated of eye diseases, and attracts patients from around the world, in addition to the denizens of northern Thailand.

A trip to an eye hospital, unlike a visit to your local doctor, conjures up all manner of uncertainties in the average patient; the staff at St. Peter's are fully aware of this, and from the moment a patient steps through its portals they are made to feel at ease in pleasant surroundings; attended to by a friendly, confident and highly professional staff.

Medical jargon, complex and alien as it is to the average patient, is explained in layman's terms to each patient, and depending on the disease/condition, patients are shown, by computer animation, the cause, treatment and eventual cure of each ailment.

By far the most common surgical procedure carried out at St. Peter is the removal of cataracts. For those of you, who still think that a cataract is a fancy noun for a waterfall, let me explain: Cataracts are caused by a change in the chemical composition of the eye's lens, causing a cloudy affect, and perhaps blurred vision. The causes range from simple ageing, a blow to the eye, diseases such as diabetes, or in some cases they are hereditary.

The treatment has never been simpler, or more effective than it is today, with cataract microsurgery taking no more then fifteen minutes per eye to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with something called an intraocular lens, in a painless procedure that restores clear vision in 95% of all cataract cases.

Each year in Thailand, there are more than 80,000 cataract cases being treated by just 600 ophthalmic surgeons, in a country with a population of 60 million-plus!
At the St. Peter Eye Hospital in Chiang Mai, all manner of eye diseases are treated, including:

  • Astigmatism…………your cornea is oval instead of round.
  • Myopia………………..near sightedness.
  • Hyperopia……………farsightedness.
  • Glaucoma……………damage to the optic nerve, causing blind spots.
  • Strabismus…………..a squint.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy….leaking of blood vessels in the retina, caused by diabetes mellitus.

The treatment available at St. Peter Eye hospital comprises 21st century technology, coupled with a vastly experienced surgical, medical, nursing and administrative staff. Among the many hi-tech procedures available at the hospital is one entitled LASIK, or Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis………I know, I know! This is a state-of-the-art surgical procedure aimed at reducing a person's dependence on glasses or contact lenses. That better?

Using a high-precision laser beam, the laser is programmed to remove a microscopic layer of the cornea, altering its curvature, to correct the patient's contact lens or spectacle prescription. The surgeon creates a thin corneal flap using an instrument called a microkeratome. The flap is carefully folded back, and the laser is used to reshape the middle tissue layer of the cornea. The flap is then returned to its original position where it seals naturally without the need for stitches. This is a quick and painless operation resulting in rapid visual recovery. And best of all, you can dispense with those glasses and contacts!

Eye care in Thailand has never been better, despite the chronic shortage of ophthalmic surgeons. A top surgeon has, however, revealed a worrying, and apparently insurmountable problem in Thailand in the case of corneal transplants. The majority of Thais, being Buddhists, prefer not to donate vital organs, such as eyes, after they die; believing that the gift of sight will be denied them in the next life. This leads to a permanent shortage of such organs that now have to be imported, at considerable cost, from Europe and the United States.

Corneal replacement surgery has successfully been carried out at the St. Peter Eye Hospital in Chiang Mai where patients can choose from many packages, including the few outlined below:

Phaco Emulsification with IOL (cataract removal and lens replacement) packages ranging from type of replacement lens, and whether to one eye or both, range between $1,100 US. and $2,000.

Eye muscle correction package for out-patient… $1,000.

Eye muscle correction for in-patient…………….. $1,500.

Upper or lower cosmetic eyelid surgery……...… $1,000.

Upper and lower cosmetic eyelid surgery……… $1,500.

For details on what each package includes/excludes, and for more detailed information on general services, you can contact the hospital.

Telephone: 053-225011-5. Fax: 053-225016

Clinic Hours: Outpatient Clinic 08:00 - 17:00 Monday - Saturday. 09:00-12:00 Sundays. In-Patients clinic is on a 24 hourly service daily.

Look for the soft pink building on the Lampang Superhighway after passing the Lotus Tesco Kamthieng Branch.

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