LASIK Eye Surgery In Singapore - The True Cost Of Freedom From Contact Lenses And Glasses

LASIK Eye Surgery In Singapore – The True Cost Of Freedom From Contact Lenses And Glasses

Do you fumble about finding your glasses every morning when you wake up? Do you feel it’s troublesome to sleep over at a friend’s place because you have to clean and store your contact lenses before bedtime? Do you sometimes get eye infections because of contaminated lenses and solutions?

If you want to be free of all these hassles and live your life the way you see fit, well, you have come to the right place. We are happy to take you through how LASIK surgery can offer you the independence you desire, what the surgery entails, and the impact it will have on your life. So, let’s get started!

What is LASIK?

LASIK stands for Laser In Situ Keratomileusis. It was introduced in the 1990s and has since become the most common and popular type of laser vision correction (LVC) surgery to correct refractive errors such as myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness), astigmatism (distorted vision due to irregularities in the curvature of the cornea), and presbyopia (the inability to focus on near objects as a result of ageing from around 40 years old). 

There are 3 main types of LVC surgery today:

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LASIK – often used to describe all the 3 types but to be accurate, it is only one type of LVC procedure. It consists of 3 steps; create a flap on the surface of the cornea and fold it backwards, use an excimer laser to reshape the underlying tissue to correct the refractive error, and reposition the flap when completed.

Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) refers to several techniques, including Epi-LASIK, LASEK and TransPRK. The oldest form of surface ablation is PRK. In these treatments, no flap is created. In LASEK for example, the epithelium (outermost layer of the cornea) is removed with alcohol before the underlying tissue is reshaped by an excimer laser.

ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro (Refractive Lenticule Extraction) is a procedure that involves making an incision in the cornea and then removing a lenticule (disc-shaped tissue) manually to reshape the cornea.

WHAT IS iLASIK?

At Lang Eye Centre, we offer iLASIK, a bladeless customised Wavefront-guided LASIK procedure that aims to give a better quality of vision. iLASIK differs from Standard LASIK and non-Wavefront-guided treatments in that it employs a Wavefront-guided technology, which not just corrects the basic refractive errors like short-sightedness and astigmatism, it also corrects unique imperfections of the eye, known as aberrations. This improves the accuracy and predictability of the treatment, resulting in a better quality of vision.  

iLASIK is safe and reliable in correcting vision. It has been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) since 2001. 

TRIVIA

By the way, did you know that iLASIK is an approved laser treatment for NASA astronauts and the United States TOPGUN fighter pilots?

WHAT CAN iLASIK CORRECT?

iLASIK can correct a wide range of refractive errors:

  • 75 to 1,200 degrees of myopia
  • 75 to 500 degrees of hyperopia
  • 75 to 500 degrees of astigmatism
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THE iLASIK PROCEDURE

For iLASIK, we employ 3 technologies to correct your vision; a personalised WaveScan, a bladeless flap creation and a Wavefront-guided laser.     

Step 1 / iDesign Advanced WaveScan Technology

iDesign Advanced WaveScan Technology – it provides an accurate individualised scan of your eye, which allows for accurate correction of refractive errors and reduces the incidence of seeing haloes and starburst at night.

STEP 2 / IntraLase Bladeless Technology

IntraLase Bladeless Technology – it employs a femtosecond laser to create the flap with precision and thus significantly increases the level of safety.

LASIK Myth #1 

LASIK being a flap surgery is not as safe – not true as flap complications are rare with the IntraLase Bladeless Technology.

Step 3 / VISX Advanced CustomVue Wavefront-Guided LASIK Technology

VISX Advanced CustomVue Wavefront-Guided LASIK Technology – the VISX STAR S4 IR excimer laser delivers accuracy as it corrects refractive errors in increments of 0.01D while its Iris Registration function ensures the laser exactly matches any iris movement that may occur during the procedure.

THE BENEFITS OF iLASIK ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Has a long history of predictability, accuracy, and reliability – iLASIK provides vision correction that is customised to every individual’s eyes.

Corrects high-order aberrations – unlike contact lenses, spectacles and non-Wavefront-guided technologies, the iLASIK procedure can correct minute imperfections of the eye (aberrations), aiming for better visual outcomes.

iLASIK removes less corneal tissue than ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro.

Correcting presbyopia – those with presbyopia can benefit from monovision iLASIK, which corrects one eye for long-distance vision and the other eye for near-distance vision. Many people find this a suitable treatment if they have presbyopia.

Speedy recovery – those who undergo iLASIK experience rapid recovery; most recover about 90% of their vision the very next day which enables them to return to most of their regular activities.

COMPARING iLASIK WITH ASA AND ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro

While each procedure has its advantages, it is essential to consider all the factors before making your choice. Do take note of the following aspects of Advanced Surface Ablation (Epi-LASIK, LASEK, PRK, and TransPRK) and ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro when deciding which procedure is ideal for you.

ASA

  • Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) may be used for those with thinner corneas as it removes the least corneal tissue. However, it may have a greater incidence of corneal haze and scarring post-surgery for those with high levels of refractive error.
  • Enhancement (second-time surgery) can be performed with high predictability. However, there can be an increased risk of haze, scarring and a less-than-optimal vision when more tissue is removed through the surface.
  • The recovery period for ASA is longer; it may take a few months before the vision becomes stable.
  • The discomfort level post-surgery is higher with more tearing and difficulty in opening the eyes during the first week. 
  • TransPRK (ASA) is less predictable than LASEK or Epi-LASIK, as it is difficult to precisely remove all the epithelium with the laser due to individual variances in corneal epithelial thickness and limitations in the precision of the laser used.
  • May have lesser dry eye compared to LASIK as a surface procedure.

ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro

  • Unlike ASA and LASIK, ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro does not employ Wavefront-guided technology (unable to correct refractive errors in increments of 0.01D) and the removal of the lenticule is manually performed.
  • ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro is not suitable for individuals with high levels of astigmatism (> 3.50D), hyperopia or those with astigmatism without myopia. 
  • Of the 3 types of procedures, ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro removes the most corneal tissue, making it challenging to perform enhancements if required for those with thinner corneas to begin with. 
  • Enhancement surgery cannot be performed as a repeat ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro. If enhancement is needed, it is performed via other forms of LVC, e.g. Epi-LASIK or LASIK. During an enhancement, the refractive error to correct is usually low and ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro is unable to create too thin a lenticule for low refractive errors. When different types of LVC treatments are used, results can be unpredictable.
LASIK Myth #2 

LASIK surgery can cause extreme dry eye – not true. Though LASIK can induce more dry eye than SMILE/SMILE Pro and ASA during the recovery period after surgery, your eyes will return to their pre-surgery state after 1 to 3 months.

For a comprehensive comparison of the 3 types of procedures, read here.

LASIK Evaluation And Procedure

We perform a comprehensive pre-LASIK evaluation to evaluate if LASIK is suitable for you. The evaluation includes measuring your refractive errors, internal eye pressure, and corneal thickness, as well as mapping the entire corneal surface of the eye in 3 dimensions. Based on the results, as well as other factors such as your age, lifestyle and existing medical conditions, we will discuss the best possible options with you. 

While LASIK surgery is suitable for most people, there is a small group who may be excluded. Please read here for exclusions.

If your eyes are found suitable and you decide to proceed, rest assured that we will do our very best to provide you with patient-centric care and service. Our team is on hand to ensure that you are comfortable and well-informed throughout the entire procedure.

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Post-Surgery And Recovery

After the procedure, you may like to take medical leave for recovery – 1 to 2 days for iLASIK and up to 7 days for ASA. You will also be asked to return for a minimum of 3 post-op reviews (1 day, 1 week and 2 months after surgery).

Although there is a low likelihood of complications and permanent side effects, e.g., dry eye, infection, light sensitivity, and haloes around bright lights, it is critical to carefully adhere to all post-operative instructions to have a speedy recovery (read more here).

LASIK Myth #3

Unsafe to do contact sports as LASIK flap can be dislodged – not true as it is rare for the flap to be dislodged after 1 month. Many have gone ahead to do contact and extreme sports without any complications after LASIK surgery.

Taking Expenses Into Account

The cost of LASIK may vary depending on individual requirements, the type of procedure selected, laser technology, LASIK surgeon’s experience and seniority. The cost of Standard LASIK and ASA procedures at private eye centres normally falls somewhere in the range of SGD3,000 to SGD6,000 for 2 eyes. On the other hand, iLASIK (Wavefront-guided bladeless LASIK) and ReLEx SMILE/SMILE Pro treatments can be anywhere from SGD3,800 to SGD8,000 for 2 eyes. It is best when consulting with eye centres that they make clear if the final amount includes the costs for tests, reviews, medication, etc.

Regarding Medisave and Insurance

As refractive errors are not considered eye diseases, Medisave does not cover LASIK except for cases in which there is a considerable difference between the prescriptions of both eyes (at least 3 diopters or 300 degrees) and there are valid reasons for not being able to use glasses or lenses. In addition, for the same reasons, insurance usually does not cover LASIK surgery.

Conclusion

We hope that you found this article informative and helpful in your decision to have LASIK done. Imagine the day when you do not have to carry your glasses and lenses around, maintain them, and have to go through any number of issues relating to your eye health and lifestyle. 

LASIK surgery, in particular iLASIK, provides an option for correcting eyesight that is not only effective but also dependable, safe, and offers quick recovery. Here at Lang Eye Centre, we have the technology, experience, track record and patient care to fully support you every step of the way. Contact us for a LASIK evaluation and take that first step to attain freedom from wearing corrective eyewear.

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About Dr Leonard Ang –
LASIK Surgeon in Singapore

The Medical Director and Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist at Lang Eye Centre, Dr Leonard Ang has more than 25 years of experience not only in iLASIK and Epi-LASIK but also in treating complex eye diseases and cataract surgery. Dr Ang had the opportunity to train at 4 of the top centres in the world. Read more about Dr Ang here.

About Lang Eye Centre –
Eye Specialist Centre in Singapore

A comprehensive one-stop specialist centre treating a wide range of eye conditions including myopia, cornea diseases, glaucoma and cataract, we are committed to providing quality eye care and patient service to you. Read more about Lang Eye Centre here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Collagen cross-linking (CXL) has been purported to strengthen the cornea and reduce the chance of developing ectasia (progressive weakening and bulging of the cornea) in LASIK procedures that remove too much corneal tissue. CXL involves the use of Vitamin B2 eyedrops and UV light.

Here at Lang Eye Centre, we do not recommend LASIK surgery in the first place if it increases the risk of ectasia post-surgery. Hence, we do not offer CXL as an add-on to LASIK surgery (LASIK Xtra) as it carries the risk of prolonged healing, complications and the loss of best corrected vision associated with a second procedure (CXL).

It is extremely rare to lose significant vision from LASIK surgery in the hands of an experienced surgeon. Should complications arise from the surgery, if treated promptly and appropriately, good vision can still be enjoyed after the eye recovers.

There are other laser vision correction procedures like epi-LASIK or LASEK for those with thinner corneas. There is also the option of implantable contact lens surgery if all forms of laser vision correction are deemed unsuitable.

You can resume most regular activities the very next day. Very importantly, do not rub your eyes the first week. Do not engage in water sports (swimming, diving) the first month as pool and sea water can be polluted which may cause an eye infection. Do not engage in contact sports (e.g., boxing, soccer) the first month to avoid getting a physical injury to the eye.

The vast majority of people adapt well to Monovision and do not experience headaches.

This is not true. You are able to fly the next day. In-flight air pressure will not affect the surgical outcome. You do however need to return for post-op reviews to ensure the eyes are healing well.

Prior to LASIK surgery, numbing eyedrops are used. Most people do not feel much pain during the surgery. You may however feel sensations on parts of the face and a stretching of the eyelids. When the numbing eyedrops wear off after surgery, you will start to tear for a few hours. Quickly return home to rest and follow your LASIK surgeon’s medication instructions. Most people will recover about 90% of the vision the very next day.

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