1. What is LASIK?
2. What To Expect With LASIK?
3. Is LASIK Suitable For You?
4. Types Of LASIK Surgery
5. Choosing A LASIK Option
6. Side Effects Of LASIK
7. Where Can I Get LASIK Done?
8. Preparing For Your LASIK Surgery
9. Paying For Your LASIK Procedure
Remember our much dreaded primary school health check-ups? We would line up neatly in two rows and get our eyesight screened, among other things.
To your horror, as you squint your eyes and try to read the random letters off the snellen chart, you find that you’re stuck after the third line. You then wait sadly as the nurse issues you a referral letter to get a pair of glasses.
And that’s just the beginning of your distressed journey with glasses.
Fast forward to slightly more than a decade later. Now, you’re old enough to have your eyesight corrected with LASIK. The LASIK procedure provides a permanent solution to your eyesight woes. You no longer need to fumble for your glasses when you get up in the morning and worry about misplacing them!
With all the benefits associated with LASIK, it’s time to get real and check out how much they actually cost: from public to private hospitals.
LASIK stands for Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. This is a type of eye surgery in which a laser is used to sculpt the cornea, thus improving your eyesight. The surgery is used to correct:
The procedure is designed to correct the shape of the cornea. This is the transparent layer that lies on the front of the eye and allows light into the eye so that you can see images. When the cornea is misshapen, your eyesight will suffer. LASIK helps to correct this.
With all that’s been said, here’s what to expect should you decide to perfect eyesight.
The procedure involves using a laser to cut the cornea’s surface. A thin flap is thereby created. There are three main steps involved in this procedure:
1. The first step involves the use of a femtosecond laser. This laser is used to create the flap on the cornea’s surface. This flap can be folded back.
2. The second step involves the use of a second laser: an excimer laser. The surgeon folds back the flap, thereby removing some corneal tissue underneath with the excimer laser. This is done to accurately sculpt the tissue that forms the cornea. This step is vital for the correction of refractive errors.
3. The final step involves the repositioning of the flap. Once it has been repositioned, the flap will stay in place where it can heal fully.
“I’m sick of wearing contacts and specs. I’m going to consider LASIK.”
Many people assume that they will qualify for LASIK as long as they want to stop using contact lenses or spectacles.
However, like all other procedures, LASIK comes with a certain level of risk. The procedure is not for everyone.
You can consider LASIK if:
You should not consider LASIK if:
LASIK is one of the most widely performed vision correction procedure in Singapore. The effectiveness in correcting refractive errors, the quickness of the procedure, and the comfortable recovery are amongst the top reasons why many people opt for this procedure.
There are various types of LASIK surgery offered in Singapore. These include:
1. ReLEx SMILE
This stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It is a minimally invasive procedure. It is also flapless and offers a very quick recovery. There are only two main steps in this procedure:
This procedure is ideal for those with active lifestyles or careers in sports. It, however, cannot be used to correct hyperopia (long-sightedness).
2. ASA (Epi-LASIK, LASEK, PRK, TransPRK)
This stands for Advanced Surface Ablation. It does not involve the making of an incision or the creation of a flap, is a surface based procedure. Additionally, it only involves the removal of a thin layer of cells from the cornea’s surface. This allows the laser to shape the cornea without damaging it.
The procedure involves the use of a protective lens that is placed over the eye. This is maintained until the cells of the cornea grow back, which may take a few days.
This is a great option if you have a thin cornea. It, however, requires a longer recovery time and the treatment takes longer.
3. Collagen Cross-Linking (add-on)
CXL is often offered in addition to other laser eye surgery procedures. This procedure is designed to help ensure that the tissue that grows back does not cause the cornea to lose shape (corneal ectasia).
This procedure can be done during surgery. It involves the administration of vitamin B12 drops and exposure to UV light for only a minute. This is done to activate the fibers of collagen and cause them to cross-link, and thus strengthen the cornea following LASIK.
Below is the cost comparison of such procedures. Do note that there are also additional costs such as the pre-laser evaluation, medication and post-op review.
|ReLEx Smile||$5,000 to $6,000|
|ASA||$3,800 to $4,000|
|LASIK||$3,500 to $4,500|
|Collagen Cross-Linking (add-on)||$1,200 to $4,000|
The type of LASIK surgery you will receive will depend on various factors including:
1. The thickness and shape of your cornea: If your cornea is thinner, you should opt for ASA.
2. Your level of astigmatism: A procedure like ReLEx SMILE is not recommended for people with high astigmatism
3. Your degree of myopia: If your myopia is low, you can opt for ASA
4. Lifestyle: Your hobbies, occupation and general lifestyle.
It is important to consult with your doctor in order to understand the risks and benefits of the different options. Your doctor will examine you and help you determine which option best suits you.
Like any other medical procedure, LASIK can have various side effects. Many of these side effects, however, are minimal and temporary. They are therefore easy to bear with. They include:
1. Dry Eyes
This is one of the most common side effects. The creation of the flap during the surgery results in the cutting of the corneal nerves. These are the nerves responsible for the normal production of tears. This condition, however, should resolve in a few months.
2. Itchiness And Discomfort
This is part of the healing process. It, however, goes away a few hours following the procedure. You can easily alleviate the discomfort by keeping your eyes closed and resting them. The itch will disappear completely after a few days. You can also use artificial tear drops that are free of preservatives to help relieve the itch.
3. Issues With Night Vision
You may temporarily see halos, starbursts or glares at night time. This is especially if you had high astigmatism or high myopia. Your night vision will improve gradually between nine months to a year of having the procedure.
LASIK is available in various private and public institutions throughout Singapore. Public hospitals, more often that not, are cheaper options compared to public institutions. Public hospitals that perform LASIK procedures include:
|Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)||$3,500 to $3,900 + a consultation fee of around $160 (dependent on whether the procedure is bladeless and the seniority level of the consultant)|
|Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)||$2,390 to $5,604 + $200 consultation fee|
|National University Hospital (NUH)||$3,554 to $5,136 + $102 consultation fee|
Private clinics and hospitals that offer the procedure include:
|Lang Eye Centre||$2,970 to $4,682|
|The Lasik Surgery Clinic||$3,198 to $5,659|
|Eye Clinic Singapore International||$2,850|
|Clearvision Eye Clinic||$3,388|
|Gleneagles Hospital||$4,392 to $5,248|
|Eagle Eye Centre||$2,996 to $3852|
|Jerry Tan Eye Surgery||$3,000 to $6,000+|
|Shinagawa Eye Centre||$2,137 to $3,304+|
|Lee Hung Ming Eye Centre||From $3,724.67|
Before you go for the surgery itself, you’ll definitely have to go for your first evaluation to determine your suitability for the procedure.
If you’re using soft contact lenses, you’ll have to stop using them 3 days before the evaluation. If you’re using hard contact lenses, then you’ll have to stop using them at least 14 days before the evaluation.
Thinking of Collagen Cross Linking as an add on procedure? Ensure that you don’t consume large amounts of Vitamin C a week before the surgery.
Forking out a few thousand dollars from your own pocket can cause quite a dent in your wallet. So, what options do you have when it comes to achieving that perfect eyesight?
Unfortunately, Medisave is used for medical procedures and hospitalisation expenses. While LASIK is, in a sense, a form of medical procedure, it is usually considered more of a cosmetic/optional procedure.
However, you can use Medisave to cover the cost if:
No. Your insurance policy will most likely not cover the cost of your LASIK procedure because it is a form of optional cosmetic surgery. Meaning that you don’t really need the surgery and it’s only done to make you look better. Not going for the surgery will not have an effect on your health in any way. Moreover, myopia is considered a pre-existing condition as most of us would have had it since young. Hence, the cost of LASIK will most likely not be covered by your insurance provider.
Occasionally, some clinics might offer discounts, especially to students. Alternatively, certain credit cards might also offer some perks when it comes to LASIK procedures. For instance, the LSC clinic provides NUS students with discounted rates of $2,973 (U.P. $3,198) for Bladless Standard LASIK, or $5434 (U.P. $5,659) for ReLEx Smile procedures.
DBS cardholders also get to enjoy a pre-LASIK evaluation treatment at $25 nett and a $150 coupon that can be used to offset the cost of the procedure.
While LASIK doesn’t come cheap, we’re pretty sure that if everything goes according to plan, you’ll be on your way to having perfect the perfect 20/20 vision! Of course, in order to achieve this, we need to reign in on our spending in order to make paying for the procedure manageable.
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