In Focus: LASIK
My 21-year-old brother has 800-degree myopia (short-sightedness). Can he go for the LASIK operation?
Barring any eye disease, yes he is a suitable candidate. More young people these days are having LASIK done and 21 is a good age as their eyesight would have stablised by then. Your brother’s 800-degree myopia is not an issue. New advancements have made it possible for candidates even with myopia as high as 1,500 degrees to enjoy very good results.
What are some of these advancements?
The principle of LASIK today is the same but the technology is much more sophisticated than it was, say, 10 years ago. For instance, the latest machines are programmed to track the eye better, so it is able to compensate for the patient’s involuntary eye movements during the laser application, resulting in better visual outcomes.
Tell me about the LASIK procedure.
In the treatment of myopia (short-sightedness), the centre of the cornea is flattened (small amounts of corneal tissue are removed) to reduce its refractive power; for hyperopia (long-sightedness), the cornea is steepened to create more refractive power; for astigmatism, irregularities in the shape of the cornea are smoothened to even out the focusing power. All these procedures are done by a very advanced laser, which uses light technology. Most patients see a dramatic improvement in their vision almost immediately after the operation, and can resume normal activities by the next day, following their eye surgeon’s advice.
How long does the operation take?
The operation takes between 10 and 15 minutes. Anaesthetic eyedrops are used so there is no pain felt by the patient. However, the patient may experience some eye discomfort and tearing during the first 24 hours after the surgery, but this will gradually resolve by the second or third day. LASIK is done as a day surgery (outpatient) procedure without the need for admission to hospital.
How long is the recovery period?
For LASIK, usually within 24 hours. Most patients will experience better vision which will gradually improve over the next few days. Stability of the vision is usually attained in one to three months. Common side effects such as dry eyes, light sensitivity, glare and halos can occur during the first few weeks but most will subside. Complications arising from infections are rare and, in most cases, treatable by an experienced surgeon.
"LASIK has made significant leaps and bounds. New machines, better programmes and skillful surgeons have made the operation safer than ever before, effective, fast and painless for the patient."
– Singapore National Eye Centre
SNEC is Singapore’s leading provider of quality and integrated eye care for a wide spectrum of eye conditions and diseases with more than 50 specialists and 350 nursing and paramedical staff. Since 1998, SNEC has performed more than 35,000 LASIK procedures. Among them is the singlasik experience, unique to SNEC, with a faculty of more than 10 senior eye surgeons offering the widest range of LASIK options. Call 6227-7266, 6227-7266 or visit http://www.snec.com.sg