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What is LASIK?

LASIK is an acronym for Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. This laser procedure permanently changes the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, using an excimer laser.

It is a two-step procedure which begins with a hinged flap creation using a mechanical microkeratome (a blade device) or a laser keratome (a laser device).

The flap is folded back revealing the stroma, the middle section of the cornea. Pulses from a computer-controlled laser vaporize a predetermined portion of the stroma and the flap is replaced.

Reshaping and reduction of the stroma alters the refractive power of the cornea and hence corrects the overall power of the eye.

LASIK surgery cannot treat presbyopia (lau hua) per se. However, monovision through LASIK is a popular option. In monovision, one eye is fully corrected for distance vision whilst the other eye for reading, is under-corrected with residual myopia, in order to offset presbyopia.
Who is suitable?

Suitable candidates:
  1. at least 21 years of age
  2. stable spectacle refraction for the last 12 months
  3. not pregnant/ breastfeeding
  4. free of certain diseases of the cornea and retina
  5. good health
Patients should stop soft contact lens wear, at least 1 week, or hard/rigid gas permeable lens, at least 2 weeks, before consultation.

What are the advantages?

Advantages of LASIK over other refractive procedures
  1. Quick visual recovery
  2. Relatively painless
  3. Established procedure
  4. High patient satisfaction in many studies
  5. Low complication rates
  6. Affordable

The LASIK Process

The Procedure
At the start of surgery, anaesthetic eye drops are applied and, once the eye is numbed, an eyelid speculum is inserted to prevent the eyelids from blinking. Next, a thin flap is created in the outer layer of the cornea, using either a specialised mechanical blade (microkeratome) or a femtosecond laser. A little pressure or tightness may be felt at this stage.

Next, the hinged corneal flap is lifted, exposing the treatment area. You will be prompted to look and focus at an overhead target light whilst the excimer laser is applied to the treatment area. A loud noise and a bit of smell may be noticed during the application.

Finally, the flap is repositioned upon completion and allowed to adhere, stitch-free. The eyelid speculum is removed at this stage. The whole treatment lasts approximately 15 minutes for each eye.

Once the anaesthetic eyedrops wear off, the eye will feel quite gritty and irritable for a few hours. Frequent application of lubricating eyedrops is useful. It is imperative that you should not rub your eyes in the first 2 weeks as the flap could be dislodged. Vision is misty during the first day and should clear by the next day. If there is severe pain with reduced vision, the flap may have been displaced and you should return to the eye centre immediately.

The visual acuity is quite reasonable the next morning and will continue to improve over the next 1 month. Most normal activities can be resumed immediately but remember that the flap is not secure for some time. Swimming and seasports should be avoided for 3 weeks.

Steroid and antibiotics eyedrops are routinely used for 1 week to help the eye heal and prevent infection.

A little dryness and irritation may persist for several months and during this time lubricating eyedrops may be used to ensure comfort.

How do I prepare myself for the first consultation?
If you wear contact lenses, you will need to leave them out for at least 1 week for soft lenses, and 2 weeks for hard or gas permeable lenses prior to the pre-operative consultation. This is to prevent corneal warpage from affecting the measurements of the cornea.

What range of refractive errors can be treated?
In general, myopia up to -15.00 diopters (1,500 degrees), astigmatism from -0.50 diopters (50 degrees) to -4.00 diopters (400 degrees) and hyperopia from +1.00 diopters (100 degrees) to +5.00 diopters (500 degrees) can possibly be treated. The actual refractive error that can be treated will vary and depend on the individuals eye characteristics, such as the thickness of the cornea.

If I am pregnant, can I still go for laser vision correction?
It is not advisable to have laser vision correction if one is pregnant. This is because there may be some changes in the shape of the cornea during pregnancy as a result of the hormonal changes in the body. These changes may potentially affect the result of the treatment. Laser vision correction is not known to harm the unborn baby. Surgery can be considered 6 months after delivery and when your menstrual cycle has resumed. Patients should also not be breastfeeding.

What may be the side effects that I might face? Will I go blind if the surgery goes wrong?
Possible side effects following LASIK surgery include dry eyes, light sensitivity, and night vision problems such as glare and halos. Most of these side effects will usually subside spontaneously over time. Partial loss of vision may occur if a serious complication such as infection of the cornea resulting in corneal scarring occurs. However, the likelihood of this happening is extremely rare. Antibiotic and steroid eye drops are prescribed routinely to prevent infection from occurring after surgery. The Singapore National Eye Centre has been performing laser vision correction since 1992. Our surgeons and staff are highly trained and experienced to provide the best possible care for your LASIK surgery.

Can I still use spectacles or contact lenses if the treatment does not give satisfactory results?
Yes, one can always wear spectacles to improve vision if the treatment does not give satisfactory unaided vision.
In some, but not all cases, contact lenses can also be used. It may not be possible to wear contact lenses in all cases as the shape of the cornea has been changed by the laser surgery.

How long is the treatment? Is hospitalization required?
LASIK takes approximately 15 minutes to perform for each eye. It is done as a day surgery (outpatient) procedure without the need for admission to hospital.

Will I suffer any discomfort or pain?
The procedure is performed using anaesthetic eye drops so there is no pain during the procedure. However, you may experience some eye discomfort and tearing during the first 24 hours after the surgery. It will gradually resolve by the second or third day.

How long will it take for me to recover?
For LASIK, most patients will experience better vision within the first 24 hours. The vision will gradually further improve over the next few days. Stability of the vision is usually attained in 1 to 3 months.

Can both my eyes be operated on at the same time? If not, when can I have the other eye done?
Yes, both eyes are routinely operated on the same day (bilateral simultaneous surgery). However, it may also be possible for some patients to request for surgery for both eyes to be performed on separate days (bilateral sequential surgery). In this case, the second eye can be operated as soon as 24 hours after surgery for the first eye.

When can I exercise or swim after the surgery?
In general, normal activities can be resumed after 1 week. Please refrain from swimming for 3 weeks. For LASIK, we recommend that patients avoid contact sports for 1 month to avoid accidental injury to the corneal flap.

Can I travel by airplane after the surgery?
It is not a problem to travel by airplane after the surgery.

How much time off work do I need to take after the surgery? Will medical leave be given?
You are advised to rest for 1 to 2 days after the LASIK procedure. Yes, if required, you can be granted outpatient medical leave. Please note that not all employers will endorse medical leave granted for laser vision correction.

How do I cope after one eye is operated and the other is due for operation at a later date?
For contact lens users, you can wear your lens in the unoperated eye until 3 days prior to the surgery of your second eye. You should be able to cope for a short period seeing with the operated eye until the day of surgery for your second eye with no ill effects to either eye. For those who are wearing spectacles, do not attempt to remove the spectacle lens from the side of the operated eye because you will have difficulty seeing and balancing the vision. It may be easier to continue wearing your old spectacles or none at all until your second eye is operated on.

Will my eyes be permanently weakened after the procedure?
No, LASIK does not significantly weaken your eyes if you are deemed to be a suitable candidate for the surgery.

What happens if my vision is not fully corrected after the procedure?
In some cases with under-correction or overcorrection after the initial laser treatment, enhancement surgery can be performed. This can be done about 3 months after the LASIK procedure. This time interval is to allow stability of the refraction to be achieved before enhancement surgery is performed.

How long will the corrections last?
Laser vision correction is permanent. There may be mild fluctuation of vision in the first 3 to 6 months while the eye is healing. Thereafter the result will be permanent.

How often do I need to come back for post-operative review?
You will need to come back for a review on the first day, first week, first month and three months after the surgery.

At the SNEC Laser Vision Centre, we are committed to providing quality and accessible ophthalmic eye care. Our rates are deliberated with the patient in mind.

For more information about our financial options, please call us at 6322 8891.

We accept payment by cash, NETS (Subject to daily limit), debit and credit cards.

Description Price with 7%GST (per eye)
Pre-Consultation S$109.14
(Senior Consultant)
LASIK Suitability Assessment S$85.60
LASIK Surgery - Blade S$1,182 to S$1,498
(SNEC Assigned Doctor)
S$1,284 to S$1,605
S$1,407 to S$1,712
(Senior Consultant)
LASIK Surgery - Bladeless S$1,498
(SNEC Assigned Doctor)
(Senior Consultant)
  • Pricing for LASIK procedure is inclusive of 1st day post-operative consultation and enhancement surgery (if recommended by primary surgeon within 2 years).
  • Prices indicated are correct as of 23rd June 2014 and may be subject to change without prior notice.
  • Price applicable for Singaporean, Permanent Resident and Employment Pass/Work Permit Holder, Dependent Pass Holder or Long Term Visit Pass - Plus Holder.
  • A surcharge is applicable for Social Visit Pass Holder, Student Pass Holder, Long Term Visit Pass Holder and Tourists.

If you are planning to undergo LASIK surgery, these LASIK videos will help answer the questions you may have concerning the procedure.

What is LASIK?

Find out more about LASIK (also known as Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis), a surgical procedure to correct refractive errors such as myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism.

What you should know about LASIK

LASIK is a type of laser vision correction for myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. For patients who are here for a LASIK assessment, he/she could go through the following tests :-
  • Visual Acuity Test
  • Tonometry
  • Orbscan
  • Refraction Test
  • Slit Lamp Examination
  • Dilation of the eye

Singapore National Eye Centre
11 Third Hospital Avenue
Singapore 168751
Mondays - Fridays 8.30am to 5.30pm
Saturdays 8.30am to 12.30pm
Sundays & Public Holidays - No clinic Session

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