Getting LASIK Surgery in Singapore?
Eye conditions such as myopia (short-sightedness) is a very common problem among Singaporeans that unfortunately starts for most people at a young age. Singapore holds the first position in the world for the highest occurrence of myopia in children of ages seven to nine years. This could be due to many factors such as early use of interactive devices, lighting conditions, poor lifestyle habits or even genetics.
With such a high prevalence of myopia in Singapore, it is important for people to educate themselves on the various options available to treat this and other eye conditions besides glasses and contact lenses. Of all possible solutions, LASIK offers a one-time and long-lasting effect that gives the myopic patient perfect vision without glasses.
What is LASIK Surgery
LASIK (Laser In-situ Keratomileusis) is a type of refractive surgery used to treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. This procedure helps to alter the shape of the cornea, enabling light to enter the eye and be properly focused onto the retina. This allows clearer vision, reducing or eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses.
How LASIK can correct myopia (short-sightedness)
The excimer laser is used to reduce the power of the cornea so that light rays will not bend as much, and the focal point is then shifted from in front of the retina onto the retina surface instead. This will allow images from far to be sharp.
How LASIK can correct hyperopia (long-sightedness)
The excimer laser is used to increase the power of the cornea so that light rays are bent more, and the focal point is then shifted from behind the retina onto the retina surface instead. This will allow images from far and near to be sharp.
How LASIK can correct astigmatism
The excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea, by evening out the contour to be more round, like changing the shape of a rugby ball to that of a soccer ball.
We commonly encounter a lot of questions asked by interested parties about LASIK and the LASIK surgery procedure. So we try to make it easy for you to do some research about LASIK surgery, and have compiled a FAQ list about LASIK for you.
(Click on the questions to view the answers)
What are my reasons for considering LASIK? >
There are many types of vision correction surgery, and LASIK is one of them.
Your surgeon will need understand why you wish to have corrective surgery. Is it for
· Career reasons
· Lifestyle reasons (sports, leisure activities, etc)
· Cosmetic reasons
· Reduce dependence on glasses and / or contact lenses
Based on the reasons given, your surgeon will be in better position to recommend you the appropriate type of vision correction surgery.
Am I a good candidate for LASIK Surgery? >
You will need to go through a comprehensive pre-procedure assessment, where the Optometrists and Ophthalmologist will check your eyes thoroughly in order to determine your suitability
for LASIK. Here are some factors to determine your suitability:
- Has your vision been stable long enough to have LASIK?
If your spectacle power is still increasing, it would be advisable to wait till it stabilises.
- Do you participate actively in contact sports?
Activities which increase the risk of trauma to the eyes, for e.g. martial arts, or even football, would increase the risk of LASIK flap dislocations. Fortunately, the advance surface abalation techniques avoid this risk and may be more suitable under these circumstances.
- What is your corneal shape and corneal thickness?
Patients that have evidence of Keratoconus (coned shaped cornea) are not suitable for LASIK. This is a condition where the cornea becomes thinned out and weakened causing unusual astigmatism and poor vision.
- Are you currently pregnant or breastfeeding?
Hormonal changes and corneal pressure due to fluid retention can cause vision fluctuations of a woman who is pregnant or currently nursing. To have the best LASIK results, it is advisable to undergo the procedure at a time when women is neither pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Do you have dry eyes?
If you have an existing condition of dry eyes, you may be advised to have that treated prior to LASIK surgery - since the quality and the quantity of tears you produce are factors in the development of dry eyes and can also affect healing after eye surgery. In addition, good LASIK outcomes may depend on controlling dry eyes.
What are the things I should note before LASIK surgery? >
You will be advised on the following before you come in for your pre-LASK assessment for suitability and before the actual day of the LASIK surgery.
· Do not wear soft contact lenses 7 days before your first pre-LASIK assessment and before surgery.
· Do not wear hard contact lenses (RGPs) 14 days before your first pre-LASIK assessment and before surgery.
· Do not apply any eye make-up 2 days before surgery.
· Do not apply any perfume on the day of surgery.
· Do not apply any products on your eyes or face on the day of surgery.
· Bring your sunglasses on day of LASIK surgery as you may experience glare after LASIK surgery.
· You do not need to fast before the LASIK surgery, there is no food restriction.
· Do not drive on the day of LASIK surgery.
· Expect to stay for about 2 hours, even though the LASIK procedure will only take about 30 minutes.
What happens during a LASIK Surgery Procedure? >
The LASIK procedure typically takes about 25 minutes for both eyes. Improved vision (without corrective eyewear) is achieved very soon after surgery, usually within a few hours.
- Your eyelids will be cleaned and anaesthetic eye drops will be administered into your eyes to prevent pain.
- You will be guided into the Intralase laser room where a laser is used to create a protective flap in the cornea, and gently lifted back.
- You will rest for a while in order to allow the bubbles under the flap to clear.
- Next you will be guided to the operating room for the laser treatment to correct the degree of the eye. The laser beam reshapes the cornea based on an individual's required vision correction.
- During this your eyelids will be held open by a springy device during the laser treatment and you will be asked to fixate your vision on a light.
(Note: The surgery is painless and does not take long)
- The protective flap is then repositioned into place and allowed to heal.
- You will rest your eyes at our recovery area for around 30 mins before a final check is done. After the surgery, it is advised that you go home and rest.
What to note after LASIK surgery? >
You should rest at home after surgery, observe good hygiene and adhere to the following.
For one week:
· NO exercise which gets sweat in your eyes (you can use a sweat band and exercise in a clean indoor gym environment)
· NO water & soap in contact with your eyes
· NO makeup and eye products
· DO NOT rub or scratch your eyes
· Wear sunglasses outdoor
· Eye shield to be worn sleeping/nap time
· Eye drops should be instilled regularly
Should I be worried about LASIK complications?
With advancing technology, sophisticated surgical skill and optimal patient selection today, the safety and effectiveness of LASIK surgery continues to improve.
Laser eye surgery has successfully treated millions of patients and has high patient satisfaction rates. However, as with any surgery, LASIK has potential complications. It is important for you to weigh the benefits and risks before choosing to go ahead with surgery
Side effects and/or complications of LASIK Surgery? >
LASIK Surgery has a very good safety profile and a very high success rate. However, like any other surgery, there are potential side effects that one should be aware of and must be able to accept a small amount of risk. Proper testing before the procedure can identify patients who are at a high risk for long-term risk for long-term complications.
There maybe some visual aberrations such as - glare, double vision, ghosting, halos, starbursts, and problems with low-light or night vision, and experience dryness of the eyes. These are the more common side effects of LASIK. Most patients experience some of these symptoms immediately after the surgery but they improve as they recover, so most require no treatment.
- Dry eyes
This is fairly common and almost all LASIK patients experience some degree of dry and gritty feeling during the recovering period following LASIK.
This can be eased with frequent use of lubricating eye drops.
- Night Vision Problems
During the first few weeks or months, one might experience halos, glare and starbursts at night. This condition usually improves with time.
- Under-correction, over-correction, or astigmatism
In some cases, corrective eyewear or contact lenses may still be required for the few activities which are more visually demanding.
This can be due to the laser removing too little or too much tissue, or can be cause by variance in the way each eye heals after surgery.
An enhancement procedure may be done in such cases.
Are there any other refractive surgery procedures besides LASIK? >
Besides LASIK, there are other refractive surgery options available:
- Advanced Surface Ablation (PRK/ EpiLASIK/ LASEK) is more suitable for people who have a dynamic job or sports with risk of trauma. (e.g. aircrew, contact sport players such as rugby, martial arts etc). Advanced Surface Ablation can also be use in patients whose corneas are not suitable for LASIK. This procedure is also available in our clinic.
- Implantable contact lenses that is more suitable for people with thin corneas, dry eyes, or have very high myopia (e.g. around -10 D or more). This option is also available at our clinic.
- ReLEx – SMILE (Refractive Lenticule Extraction – Small incision Lenticular Extraction) is a fairly new procedure which requires manual dissection and manipulation of a lens-shaped piece of corneal tissue that has been fashioned by a laser. Although results appear to be good, it has not been found to be superior to LASIK. More information and experience needs to be gained before it can become the mainstream procedure of choice. For example, this procedure still causes the side-effect of dry eye, and recovery time is longer than LASIK. However, with further refinement, this procedure will have great potential in time to come.
Have more questions about LASIK? Want to wake up to clearer vision?
Attend one of our monthly LASIK public forums to get your questions answered in person by Dr Gerard Nah, one of Singapore's top eye surgeons, to have a better understanding about LASIK!
What you can gain from attending our LASIK Forum
- Learn more about different refractive surgery options that are available
- Understand the advantages and disadvantages of each options
- Advanced Surface Ablation (PRK / EpiLASIK)
- ReLEx - SMILE
- Implantable Collamer Lenses (ICLs)
Attendance is free, but seats are limited, so check out the dates of our LASIK forum and book your slot now!