DOING LASIK IN SINGAPORE – TWO MONTHS LATER (AN UPDATE)

It has been 2 months after Lasik! You can read about how my procedure went here. In September 2019, I went on a whim (though not really as I’ve been wanting to not wear spectacles for a really long time – almost 2 decades) to SNEC to do my LASIK procedure.

After the surgery, my vision fluctuated for about 2-3 weeks. Some days, it was so blurry that I could not see traffic and the roads properly, nor my computer screen while working. Although this was an expected side effect, I was really worried that it would be permanent or last a really long time.

SNEC provides several follow up checks, namely 1 day after the surgery, 1 week after, 1 month after, and 6 months after.

At the 1 week mark, I was told that I had dry eyes, and was prescribed a different type of antibiotic eyedrops and steroid eyedrops.

However, even with religious dropping of the eyedrops into my eye, my vision still fluctuated. At night, there would also be halos, worse than when I still had my mild-to-moderate level of astigmatism, affecting my vision.

Initially, I got really worried because people have given me some anecdotal inputs on how the dry eyes could last over a year, and for some, it is forever.

Thankfully, my vision started to stabilise about 1 month after the procedure. I went back for my post op checkup at the 1+ month mark, and my eyes are 0 on the left (perfect eyesight) and 25 on the right (near perfect eyesight). 25 is minor and does not require any spectacles to see.

One thing I find that is really important is that people should adjust their expectations of how LASIK will turn out. Many people expect perfect eyesight, but that is often not the case. Sometimes, you get near-perfect vision. I have also heard many people who still experience night halos and aberrations in the vision. However, I am glad that for me, these disappeared about 1-2 months after the procedure.

I do notice that my vision does get blurry after some activities, for example, after I spend an entire night reading (i.e. from the time I reach home from work at about 7-8pm all the way to about 1am at night), but honestly you shouldn’t even be doing that without rest anyway. I have no issues with near work, including reading, browsing the internet, or just regular shopping or looking at advertisements. I also have no issue with driving or strong winds.

Just do what the doctor tells you to, and you’ll be fine. It is important still to take note of possible side effects, as if dry eyes was going to be a permanent issue, it would affect me mentally/emotionally a lot. Don’t underestimate the psychological load of poor vision.

All in all, I absolutely do not regret the procedure. The surgery was definitely scary, you can read the full details here, but an eye-opener (PUN INTENDED) and also, I think my confidence has increased a lot. In the past, I used to not be able to put on certain outfits as my glasses do not suit, and I always had issues with contacts due to my inherently dry eyes and also irritation, but now I can wear whatever that screams me without a care. It is also super convenient and I definitely save time not having to push up my specs ever so often, heehee.

Do comment below if you have any questions!

Doing LASIK in Singapore – Costs, Procedure, Post-op Care

It has been 4 days since my LASIK procedure which I went for on an almost-whim even though I have been wanting to get rid of spectacles for many years now. The first time I wore specs was when I was 5 and I am 24 this year. So it has been nearly 2 decades. Contact lenses have never been satisfactory for me. No matter what brand I tried, they were uncomfortable to wear. After prolonged use of about a year or so, my eyes started getting vascularisation due to anoxia. It was also never as clear as spectacles. So I have stopped wearing contacts regularly since 2015 and only wear them on special occasions.

I chose Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) because I trusted in public healthcare’s patient management if things go awry. Being a national eye centre, I also trusted that it was the number one choice for the general public which parallels to having many procedures done there compared to many other private centres. I opted for Senior Consultant (I wanted a surgeon who had more experience/training than regular doctors, and also higher responsibility due to the title).

Costs

  • Pre-op eye examination ($200)
  • Lasik procedure ($3,300)
  • Prescription, consumables ($74)

Total estimated (inclusive pre-op exam, procedure, eye drops, post-lasik eye checks and GST): $3,800-4,000

Procedure

The pre-op eye exam involved doing the regular eye tests and also included giving you eye drops which increases your light sensitivity. This eye exam helps to determine whether you are suitable for LASIK, other procedures such as LASEK or ICL (implantable contact lenses, for those with high myopia, astigmatism).

For the actual procedure, you get local anaesthesia. The nurse will insert anaesthetic eye drops into your eyes and also clean up your eye region with iodine solution. There was also another eye drop, which I can’t remember what it was for.

The next few steps would probably be the most memorable. For LASIK, you will get your flap loosened, your eyes clamped to ensure they don’t move, and the actual procedure which you can see, but thankfully not feel – it will look as though the surgeon is scraping off parts of your eye, which isn’t really wrong because it involves removing thin layers of cells to improve your eyesight.

When you get your flap loosened you get a temporary bout of blindness which can be traumatising if you’re not prepared for it. However, I have been briefed in good detail by the nurse which helped me prepare for the procedures. Basically you see your vision start to go dark from one corner until the whole vision becomes dark. Then you get back your vision after a few seconds and woo! Now you got to repeat it for the other eye.

After that you head to another room to do the actual LASIK procedure. So for this you need to stare at the green light and not move while the surgeon and assistants start to do the work. You get liquid in your eyes, and other tools, some scraping (but because you can’t feel it, it looks like it’s just scraping through air instead of your eyes). It took about 10-20 seconds for each eye. Honestly i was really afraid of moving because I was scared of screwing up my eyes so i didn’t move for both procedures (flap loosening and actual LASIK). Because of that I also breathed really shallowly but I could smell something like burning, like what many others have said, but it didn’t bother me that much.

After that you are a little woozy and they bring you to take a picture with the surgeon. You get the actual pic through whatsapp and in hardcopy on the next day when you got back for your eye exam.

The next day I went back and my vision was 6/9. The surgeon also removed the bandage contact lenses.

For the first day, I needed to apply tear-substitute eye drops every 15 min. It drops to once every hour for a week, then 2 hours, 3 hours until 3 months later. The first week also involves you adding antibiotic eye drops (prevent infection) and steroid eye drops (promote cell growth) every 2 hours for the first day, then every 4 hours for the rest of the week.

I didn’t feel pain at all throughout and after which I am a little surprised by because people have said that it would hurt after the procedure. It really didn’t. I felt mild irritation, nothing dissimilar to wearing contacts to be honest. Only a mild pressure at the point my sight went dark a short while before the procedure. And that was it. The eye drops inserted thereafter (steroid, antibiotics) did sting a little, but nothing that can’t be handled.

At this point my vision is still not clear and I hope this isn’t permanent. My understanding is that it can take a few days to a week or more, like months, to sharpen the vision. Or that my eye is blur enough to qualify for supplemental procedure to refine, which is free for one-time up till a year.

I will update again on my LASIK procedure!