Want to know if LASIK is right for you? One of Singapore’s preeminent eye surgeons gives us all the deets, including why it’s particularly fab for mamas!
Considering getting LASIK surgery in Singapore, mama? We recently spoke with pioneering eye surgeon Dr Lee Hung Ming – the first surgeon in Singapore to perform bladeless LASIK way back in 2004, he’s been improving people’s vision in Singapore for years – to find out more about the procedure. Did you know, for instance, that success rates typically range from 95-99%? Or that the procedure only takes about 15 minutes? Dr Lee tells us everything we want to know – even average costs!
We also spoke with one of his satisfied patients, new mama Georene Phil, who gave birth to beautiful baby daughter Claudia three months ago. Click here to find out how LASIK has changed this mama’s life!
Expert Advice from Dr Lee Hung Ming: All about LASIK
When should one consider LASIK?
If they are unsatisfied with their current mode of vision correction and are over 18 years of age. Unlike glasses or contact lenses, which only correct vision temporarily, LASIK offers long-term, convenient, and hassle-free visual freedom (perfect for busy mummies!). LASIK surgery takes only a few minutes, but can have a monumental impact on one’s lifestyle.
What is the minimum age requirement?
We recommend LASIK for people above the age of 18 years old. There is no upper age limit for LASIK as long as the eye is free of diseases/abnormalities and the patient stands to benefit from a laser vision correction.
What is the typical length of the procedure?
A LASIK surgery typically takes about 10-15 minutes.
What does recovery entail? How long is the recovery process?
Visual recovery is rapid after LASIK. You will experience slight discomfort for around 4-6 hours after the procedure. However, within 24 hours, most patients can see clearly enough to drive or go back to work. Vision generally stabilizes within 1 month.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t consider LASIK?
If someone has thin, irregular corneas or myopia that is too high to be treated, we would not recommend LASIK as it would not be medically safe. They can consider other vision correction methods such as Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL). We also do not recommend LASIK for people whose myopia power is still increasing (has not stabilized), or those who have other pre-existing eye conditions (eg. cataract). LASIK is not recommended for pregnant ladies. However, one would usually be able to do LASIK after having stopped breastfeeding.
What is the success rate of LASIK?
LASIK has had more than 20 years of history. It has been proven to be safe, effective, and predictable with success rates (defined as independence from spectacles) ranging from 95%-99% in most centres.
What are the risks and potential side effects?
During the 1-month period after LASIK, you may experience:
- Slightly drier eyes (which can be easily resolved using eye lubricants)
- Seeing halos around bright lights at night
- Fluctuation of vision
However, these side effects should diminish over time.
As with any surgical procedure, LASIK results cannot always be predicted or guaranteed. However, LASIK has been regarded by surgeons worldwide as one of the safest surgical procedures.
What is the average cost of the procedure?
At Lee Hung Ming Eye Centre, the cost of LASIK surgery ranges from $1,688 to $2,171 depending on your individual eye condition (for example, your cornea thickness).
Does insurance cover LASIK?
LASIK is a cosmetic treatment, and as such insurance policies generally do not cover it. However, it all depends on your specific policy — you should check with your insurance provider regarding this.
How long have you been performing LASIK surgeries? What is the best piece of feedback you’ve received from a patient?
I have been performing LASIK surgeries for a long time, more than 15 years now.
Seeing my patients happy and healthy is my greatest motivation. The best piece of feedback I’ve received so far? One of my patients told me that LASIK thoroughly changed her life, and she went on to recommend the procedure to her sisters as well – now the whole family swears by LASIK!
What is the difference between LASIK and Epi-LASIK/trans-PRK? Which would you recommend?
At Lee Hung Ming Eye Centre, we perform both LASIK and Epi-LASIK/trans-PRK procedures. In Epi-LASIK/trans-PRK, the superficial layer of the cornea is first removed with a blunt blade, laser or special chemical, followed by laser treatment. Epi-LASIK/trans-PRK is not as popular as LASIK because of the 2-3 days of post-operation pain and longer visual recovery time of 2-3 weeks. In addition, Epi-LASIK/trans-PRK may cause corneal scarring in patients with high myopia. Hence bladeless LASIK still remains the gold standard for the treatment of myopia and astigmatism in Singapore and worldwide.
A mama’s perspective: ‘LASIK has made being a mother easier’
How long had you worn glasses / contacts for before receiving the Lasik treatment?
I have been wearing glasses and contacts since secondary school days. i finally did LASIK after 14 years!
What made you decide to get LASIK?
I felt very uncomfortable in contact lenses as they made my eyes very dry. On the other hand, spectacles were very cumbersome and I didn’t feel very confident wearing them.
How did you decide to have your surgery with Dr. Lee? Did you visit multiple doctors?
I have always wanted freedom from contact lenses as I felt very limited by the inconvenience, especially when travelling as the dryness gets worse on board airplanes because the air is so dry. For years I had put off the procedure as I’d heard horror stories of LASIK gone wrong amongst my friends and colleagues.
Finally in 2013, after seeing my then-boyfriend (now husband) enjoy the benefits of LASIK – he no longer had to deal with dry eyes or spectacles – I started to proactively look out for someone to do the LASIK for me.
I went to a public forum by Dr Lee at Gleneagles Hospital and was impressed by his professionalism and experience as a surgeon. Having performed LASIK treatment for so many patients and yet still being able to maintain an excellent safety record made me feel safe in his care. As we only have one pair of eyes, safety was of my utmost concern! I also checked around with friends who had done LASIK and those who had theirs done by Dr Lee were happy with their results.
What was the procedure like? Did it require any advanced preparation?
I was advised by Dr Lee’s staff to stop wearing contact lenses for 5 days before the LASIK assessment consultation. The first visit involved detailed eye examinations and discussions with Dr Lee on the various types of laser vision correction.
The actual treatment was quick and painless; the whole procedure was over before I could realize it!
Dr Lee and his team were very reassuring throughout my LASIK journey. Soon after completion of the treatment, I remembered sitting up on the surgery bed and thinking to myself ‘Wow, I can see stuff already!’
How was the recovery for you?
I went home and took a nap as advised by Dr Lee’s nurse. There was minimal discomfort for the first two hours, which went away after I woke up from my nap. I was delighted that I could see well enough and was able to go out for dinner with my family on that very night.
I returned for my post-surgery check-up the next day and was told by Dr Lee that my eyes were healing well.
I was compliant with the use of eye drops, and was careful not to engage in sports activities for the first week. After two days of rest, I returned to work with newfound vision and confidence.
What have been the biggest benefits for you since having the surgery?
It is awesome to have perfect eyesight every waking moment of my life post surgery! I don’t have to grope in the dark to look for my glasses anymore, and the freedom I get in return is priceless. In 2015, i went skiing for the first time in my life and I did not have to worry about my eyes! I cannot imagine if I’d had to wear fogged up lenses while skiing, that probably would have marred my awesome ski experience. I also enjoy swimming on a regular basis and the very first time I took a swim, I was wondering to myself what took me so long to get LASIK done! It has indeed improved my quality of life.
How has LASIK benefitted you as a mother in particular?
LASIK has definitely made being a mother easier. I cannot imagine going back to wearing glasses and feeding my baby girl in the middle of the night, or even having to go through labour squinting away with dry eyes!
Thank you so much, Dr Lee and Georene! If you want to find out more, mama, be sure to contact the Lee Hung Ming Eye Centre! Can you imagine a life free of glasses and contact lenses? It just takes 15 minutes…
Sassy Mama readers can get a LASIK assessment with Dr Lee for just $10. Quote “SASSY MAMA” when you make your appointment and during registration. Prices shown are for indicated services only. Additional tests or treatments are not included.
Lee Hung Ming Eye Centre, Gleneagles Hospital, Level 3, 6A Napier Road, Singapore 258500, Tel: (+65) 6470 3366, www.facebook.com/leehungmingeyecentre