LASIK in Singapore: Candidacy, Recovery, Cost/Price, Side Effects

LASIK

Click To Check LASIK (Corrective eye surgery) cost in Singapore

You will find that each clinic has put a different price tag on the surgery based on the skills of their team, the technology used, plus any additional procedures you want to have on top of it. The cost ranges from $2,850 to $6,000, with or without evaluation. It should be noted that a LASIC treatment would run more than $10,000 in the past, so these days it is much less expensive to correct your eyesight than it used to be.

This guide will focus on a life-changing refractive surgery technology that has been used for almost three decades to permanently correct vision problems. Called LASIK (also spelt Lasik), it has garnered worldwide recognition and not without good reason. With over 40 million patients across the globe, there are definitely amazing qualities of this procedure. Let’s check out what it really is all about.

What is LASIK?

This is a corrective surgery performed on the eyes to fix health conditions like astigmatism, long-sightedness (hyperopia), and near-sightedness (myopia). It works by raising part of the corneal surface and eliminating a thin layer of tissue with the help of a laser. The treatment was first introduced in the 1990s and has since become one of the most sought-after methods of correcting vision problems. The name is amalgamated from Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis.

How is it performed?

The procedure lasts about 15 minutes per eye and is entirely pain-free. Both eyes are numbed with drops and the area to be treated is marked with a water-soluble pen to aid in realignment once the treatment is over. A suction ring is then placed over the eye socket to hold it steady during the operation.

The surgeon begins by cutting an ultra-thin fold or flap in the cornea with the help of a femtosecond laser or, in some cases, a small instrument named microkeratome. (For a bladeless experience, specialists often turn to laser technology.) A small section of it remains uncut so it doesn’t fall off or displace, just like a hinge of a door. After that, the flap is pulled back so it provides access to the cornea.

The operator then cuts away some of the corneal tissue in order to reshape it. This will allow light to more accurately focus on the retina which is what will ultimately improve the vision. The last step is to put the flap back in the place where it will have the chance to heal properly.

The end goal is to make the cornea steeper (for the farsighted) or more flattened (for the near-sighted). When it comes to those suffering from astigmatism, some smoothening needs to be done in order to correct the problem.

What to expect before LASIK in Singapore

eye examination

There are some things you can do to prepare for the procedure. I’ll only touch on them briefly, as your doctor will go into as much detail as required prior to the procedure, so don’t worry.

Every individual is different, but for the most part, you will be instructed to cease using hard contact lenses for two weeks before the operation and soft lenses for three days beforehand at the very least.

You will be withheld from taking huge amounts of vitamin C seven days prior to the treatment, especially if you need additional procedures on top of LASIK. On the day before the procedure, you want to restrain from using any perfumes, lotions, creams, or makeup since they can leave debris into your eyes and cause an infection.

Additionally, it is important to take a couple of days off from work as necessary to allow enough time for your eyes to heal. You should also arrange for someone to drive you home from the clinic once they release you since vision will be blurred and your eyes will be extremely sensitive to light. There are also additional services you might want to opt into, like corneal strengthening through crosslinking, so you might want to take note of that while budgeting for a Lasik procedure.

Moreover, choose casual and comfortable clothes and skimp on accessories. The less stuff you have on you, the better. You wouldn’t want anything to get in the way when the surgeon commences work.

And finally, you can have a light meal on the day of the surgery and you will probably be allowed to take your medication if any, as normal. Do as you are instructed and everything will be all right.

What to expect after the procedure

When the surgery comes to an end, you will have to rest for a while. The specialist runs a quick post-operative exam to make sure you are good to go and then someone can come and pick you up. Note that you will not be allowed to drive immediately after the procedure. Before this can happen, your doctor needs to make sure your vision complies with the existing standards for driving as dictated by the law.

In the beginning, your vision will likely be blurry but it will gradually get to improve. A temporary itching and burning sensation could appear. You may feel pain in the treated area coupled with irritation and the feeling of having sand in your eyes. Although this is a normal occurrence, it will certainly cause some sort of discomfort. Ask your doctor for instructions on what to do.

It will take a few days for your eyesight to improve until it finally stabilises and reaches its optimum state. On the day after your LASIK treatment, you will return to the clinic for an evaluation. This is when the doctor will measure your visual acuity and inform you whether it is good enough for you to drive a vehicle.

It is vital to refrain from rubbing your eyes so as not to force the flap out of the organ or cause further complications. Oftentimes, doctors will require you to wear protective goggles to sleep so that you don’t end up rubbing your eyes whilst half-asleep.

Preventive measures to take

To ensure a fast recovery and fascinating results, you should follow these precautions:

  • Do not spend time in front of the TV or computer; eschew prolonged reading (up to 12 hours after the procedure)
  • Stay away from operating heavy machinery (1 day)
  • Do not drive vehicles (1 day)
  • Be careful not to let water into your eyes when bathing (1 week)
  • Do not visit dusty or smoky places (1 week)
  • Do not use makeup around the eyes (1 week)
  • Steer clear of contact sports (1 month)
  • Avoid heat (hot tubs, saunas) and swimming (1 month)

Is LASIK suitable for people who have dry eyes?

It depends on the case, but for the majority of patients with this condition, LASIK is possible. The doctors will need to check just how severe the dryness is and whether it tends to be reversible. The reason the treatment might not be appropriate for everyone is that it can inhibit proper lubrication of the eyes that will last for a couple of months. This is why the first thing they are going to do is to diagnose your condition and have it treated before the surgery is due. To make sure everything goes well, you should take your prescribed medication and eye drops as instructed by your doctor.

How do I know if I am a good candidate?

In general, the ideal candidates are those with:

  • Astigmatism that runs over 350 degrees
  • Long-sightedness that amounts to 300 degrees or less
  • Short-sightedness that ranges from 100 to 1,000 degrees

As you can imagine, not everyone is eligible for the procedure despite being touted as a one-size-fits-all solution for those who want to get rid of their spectacles. There are a few reasons why some individuals get rejected, and here they are:

  • Their corneas are steep, irregularly shaped, or too thin
  • They are not in good overall health, which may compromise healing or put them at risk for further complications
  • They have an eye disease that is making it impossible to undergo LASIK: e.g. glaucoma or cataracts
  • They have severe dry eye syndrome
  • They are either pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Their eye prescriptions have proven to be quite unstable for the last 12 months
  • Their eye prescriptions do not meet the requirements/treatment ranges (see above)
  • They still have not turned 18 years of age (individuals who are below 21, by all means, need parental consent)

Your doctor will inquire about medications that you might be taking and will want to know about your general health. It is imperative that you mention all of the problems you have had in the past as well as the ones that you are suffering from now. Withholding information from your surgeon can be dangerous, so ensure that you vocalise anything and everything that is related to your health, then let them figure out whether you are eligible for LASIK.

How long will it take for my eyes to heal?

Recuperation following a LASIK surgery is more often than not short-term, but, of course, each patient will experience varying recovery times. You will probably notice a considerable improvement in your vision on the second or third day. And things will only get better from there. You will even be able to go back to work almost immediately. However, keep in mind that it will take about six months for the eye to heal completely.

Can I wear my contact lenses after that?

Due to the corrections made to your cornea, it is highly unlikely that your old contact lenses will fit your eyes as well as they did before. If you want to wear decorative ones, you will probably need to get a new pair. Consult an optometrist to understand more about the size and shape that will better match your cornea.

Can I do one eye at a time?

Laser surgery for vision correction

Years ago, when the treatment was conceived, it was common for patients to operate one eye at a time. The reason for this was twofold. First, lasers at the time were not as accurate as they are today, hence, doing only one cornea at once would allow for any adjustments to be made to the procedure so that it suited the patient’s needs better in terms of the other cornea. Second, the risk of infection was higher, so surgeons would prefer to treat one eye at a time to limit complications and speed up healing.

These days, there is no need to carry out the surgery in two rounds because the technology is safer and more precise than ever. Notwithstanding this fact, if you think that you will be more comfortable to get one eye operated at a time, then feel free to express your concerns and requests to your doctor and see what they can do about it.

Are there any side effects or risks?

Although this treatment has been available for decades, it is not uncommon for complications to develop. These can be:

  • Glares
  • Haloes
  • Vision fluctuation (mild)
  • Dry eye
  • Infections or complications of the corneal flap (it happens seldom)
  • In very rare cases, 2% to 5%, the surgery may lead to under or over-correction of the eyesight; an additional procedure might be needed to enhance the previous one
  • Astigmatism - if the tissue is left uneven, it may cause astigmatism
  • Excess tears - when the operator folds the flap back, this may cause excess tears to develop in the organ

How much does LASIK cost?

You will find that each clinic has put a different price tag on the surgery based on the skills of their team, the technology used, plus any additional procedures you want to have on top of it. The cost ranges from $2,850 to $6,000, with or without evaluation. It should be noted that a LASIC treatment would run more than $10,000 in the past, so these days it is much less expensive to correct your eyesight than it used to be.

If you want to get a better deal, it is best to research the different clinics in Singapore. Of course, don’t forget that this is a serious procedure that will influence your whole life and bargaining down the price is not an option. Be careful where you are getting treated and make sure the equipment they use is top notch.

What is ReLEx SMILE and how is it different from LASIK?

This is a refractive surgery which is done without creating a flap in the cornea. It offers a much faster recovery and is minimally invasive. There are two main steps to this. A laser cuts a lenticule beneath the surface of the organ and then makes a tiny incision into the cornea. This eliminates the lenticule and helps to do the necessary reshaping. The treatment is more appropriate for people who are likely to be exposed to an eye or head trauma. It carries less risk of causing dry eyes. However, it is not capable of correcting long-sightedness.