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!

JB walking day trip (20 jul 2019)

marcus, hw and i went on a day trip to JB today.

since we lived in the same area, hw and i met up to take the bus together. 170/170a brings you directly to woodlands checkpoint. public transport (buses) is the cheapest way to get to JB.

we reached way early at around 8.30am thanks to smooth traffic (bless) – we originally decided on 9am to meet. to our surprise, there weren’t many people within woodlands checkpoint then as well.

while we waited for marcus to arrive, we observed the crowd picking up quickly after 9am. by the time we reached jb’s checkpoint, the crowd was pretty insane. it was basically bodies against bodies. we couldn’t even find an entry point into the queue because it was just that crowded. when we finally cleared immigration it was already 11am+. suggest to bring a book to read while clearing checkpoint in future.

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we got to our first stop at around 12pm (lol). Ya Wang is about 5-10 minutes walking distance from the checkpoint. there was a slight queue and we waited about 10-15 minutes before we were seated. the inside is aircon and a good respite from the deadly afternoon heat.

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I personally kind of got a shock at the prices lol they were higher than i had expected. i was also disappointed in the herbal duck. i heard many good reviews so i was really excited to come here, but it just wasn’t what i envisioned it to be? the meat was also quite tough. i’m not sure if it’s because we didn’t get the whole duck version but it shouldn’t make that big of a difference. i might not be heading back soon unless convinced otherwise. good charsiew and roast pork (RM20 for that – ouch), but not the best i’ve had. the best one i had was tucked in penang… that shall be my little secret 🙂 i got soy milk at Ya Wang at the drink, RM1.50 – ok even though slightly watery.

we went to our second stop – Shakespeare Milkshakes for some chill and board games, the next item on our itinerary.

the board games part, by Fullwolves 狼间道桌游 is in collaboration with the cafe. that section is on the second floor. you order your food and drinks on the first floor of the cafe and they deliver it up to you. it was such a photo-friendly location that i ended up snapping a few photos of the place.

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the prices run at RM8 / hour per pax, which is honestly fairly reasonable for what you get. if you’re a member, it is RM6 but we didn’t ask how to become a member, haha.

it has a modest selection of games but all the essentials are there. we spotted monopoly, cluedo, cards against humanity, limpeh says, bang, amongst other games.

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Avocado milkshake (RM18)

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Peach parfait (RM12)

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Idyllic hideout on a warm Saturday across the border

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Banana chocolate milkshake (RM18)

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Cluedo!

i enjoyed the avocado milkshake. it wasn’t too sweet. the chocolate banana is too heavy though. overall it’s quite pricey but the portion is decent. we spent about 2 hours in the cafe (till 3pm) before moving on.

our next stop was supposed to be Mid Valley Southkey, the new mall 10 minutes driving distance from JB Sentral. we saw online that there is a shuttle bus (MV2) which brings you from JB Sentral to Mid Valley Southkey at a current promo price of RM1, but we could not find a bus depot (we only saw the depot after walking back from R&F Mall, lol).

we gave up and looked around for R&F Mall, the new mall 8 minutes walk away from CIQ checkpoint that opened recently as well. we had a hard time finding it – tip is to just stay within CIQ to look for it. the walkway is not connected to City Square but CIQ. you need to cross a zebra crossing to get to the bridge.

some photos while trying to find the shuttle bus to mid valley and bridge to R&F mall:

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fit for r/biochemistrymemes

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went to watsons to stock up on toiletries and medication as well.

R&F mall was not fully open yet. we chilled at JB’s LiHo for a while before heading back to City Square for dinner.

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LiHo at R&F Mall – Da Hong Pao Milk Tea with Black Sugar Pearls (RM10.80) – 30% Sugar, Less Ice (A little too sweet, will order 0% next time)

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GO Noodle House 有間麵館, JB Sentral – Pork Tendon Balls Soup with 米线 (RM10 excluding GST and service charge).

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Pretty designs

we booked the 8.15pm train back to SG through EasyBook one month ago. but we missed it as we reached too late and we didn’t know how to get to the train area. however, thankfully, the bus ride back to woodlands checkpoint was really smooth at that timing and i think there’s really no need to take the train back at that timing. the 5/6+pm crowd is insane though so if you plan on going back at that peak time, it would be better to pre-book the KTM train.

in summary, on saturdays, you should either book the KTM train to JB or reach early (before 8.30am). Also, if you plan on going back at peak hour (5/6pm+), you should book the KTM train back. Otherwise, if you head back at around 8.30pm, it’s okay to go via public bus route.

for the next JB trip, i will purchase a SIM card or get a 1 day roaming from my telcom company and head outside of the walkable areas of JB, such as the new mid valley southkey mall which is 10 min by car from JB Sentral, austin heights area, perhaps look out to get new specs and contacts, do my hair!

A love letter

Dear Singapore,

I have known no other city as well as you. I have caught glimpses of other cities as I grew older, but I guess it is like the way with lovers who’ve been together for decades – there’s nothing that can replace that love strewn together with the sense of familiarity. You’ll always have a special place in my heart, no matter where the future takes me. I’ll always be rooted to you, whether by choice or circumstance.

I am in love with how freely I can walk the streets at night. I love the crisp night air, and how it feels like to cruise on the roads at night. I love how city the Marina district is with towering architecture of banks and other commercial buildings in the Downtown Core, and how it overlooks the sea and the vast array of familiar landmarks associated with Singapore. The city lights twinkle with the night breeze.

Cities are very similar to one another, driven by demand and supply leading to a consistent backdrop of high-rise commercial buildings of MNCs strewn across the globe. But there’s always some things unique to every city, and Singapore is no exception. That face of Singapore, short of pretentiousness – the heartlands, with its hawker centres, coffeeshops and void decks, shop spaces beneath HDBs, mama shops… these are all things I’ve grown to love and appreciate.

There are a few places in Singapore that I hold dear to my heart. Be it rooftops of buildings like Star Vista, certain malls in the Orchard/Somerset district, or malls of Jurong East, or Esplanade, even if they have become strewn with faded memories of past lovers and almost-lovers with time. The grass patches of Marina Barrage, beaches and parks on off-peak periods… even certain parts of the University I’ve spent 3 years in.

Of course, I do think about the grass on the other side, where life proceeds at a slower pace compared to the breakneck speed here. But I know that everything comes with tradeoffs. I’m not sure what the future holds for me, and my feet itch to crawl the world and truly see with my own eyes what is in the books and movies and shows that I consume. But my heart will always lie with you.

Love,

A true-blue Singaporean who has spent pretty much all her life here in this city she calls home.

Two sides to every coin

The Internet is a great place to unleash our deepest thoughts. You find people becoming more honest with their state of mind, and you realise that an unsaid thing is shared between many of us. We all have demons within us that we struggle with, although these tend to come in various forms. I wonder if perhaps this is a norm. And it ought to be treated like a norm instead of being stigmatised. To be conscious is like all things – there are always the good and the bad. The good thing about consciousness is a deeper depth to life itself, and the bad thing is also the depth. Maybe it’s not about getting rid of the demons, but being okay with living with them. To know that they will be a part of you forever, but not letting them win.

At the deepest core of me, I know that being alive shouldn’t be like this. Being alive shouldn’t be plagued with all these sicknesses of the unseen that comes with modern day living. Then again like I said there’s good and bad to all things. Perhaps it’s about sacrifice – we are inflicted with illnesses of the modern day so that we are not plagued with diseases of the past that are now treatable, like polio, smallpox and TB. It comes with a more convenient way of living and not needing to worry about a roof over our heads, the next meal or predators that might infringe upon us. We are now more free physically in exchange for being less free mentally, and are now more prone to becoming trapped in the labyrinth of our minds.

Perhaps, this is a good argument for going primal sometimes. We are, after all, animals, and perhaps it’s good for us to reconnect with that, be it through exercise, sex or walks in nature. Anything that gets your heart pumping and your body moving. Perhaps this reconnection with the physical part of us is the key to finding balance in a world that’s increasingly going mental (pun intended).

The Ideal Life Begins with the Ideal Day

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” — Mahatma Gandhi

My Ideal Day (At Present Moment) includes the following

  • 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep
  • (At least) 1 hour of going outside the house
  • 1 hour of spending time helping my loved ones / household chores
  • 1-2 hours of engaged learning/building a skill/working on commitments
  • 30 minutes of exercise
  • 3 hours of my own time to do whatever I want / chill out & unwind

That leaves me with a good number of hours to do everything else (eat, bathe, travel, spontaneous things….)

“In fact, research shows that when our goals are specific (day to day), intrinsically motivating (things we care about), and time-bound (on a deadline), we’re more likely to keep going until we succeed.”

The secret to life is failing, then picking yourself up and trying again.

I am not particularly good at dealing with failures. All my life, I have been accustomed to not failing, especially in terms of academics. Sure, I have had my share of failures, but they were rather arbitrary and also rather minute in scale – not being able to become secretary of my CCA back in JC, not getting into the ExCo in library club back in Nan Hua… But things changed when I stepped into university.

I must learn to not dwell on my failures. I must learn to reflect on them adequately, then move on with full strength. I must not falter at the big things because of fear. There are things that must be accomplished, and I will accomplish them with grace in my heart. I must be kind and sincere to people; I must put in good effort in the things that I do and not handle them slipshodly.

Sure, there is that overwhelming feeling of inadequateness. But only losers feel sorry for themselves. Failure feels like a punch in the gut, but true failure is getting punched in the gut, and not having the drive, determination and motivation to stop lying there after getting punched (and worse still, allowing yourself to get punched even more). You gotta adjust yourself and fucking pick yourself up and fucking continue on your path again, no matter how shitty/scared/afraid/frightened you feel. And that’s what you gotta fucking do.