4 Most Common Eye Diseases that can cause Blindness

1.Cataracts

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness. It is due to the clouding of the natural lens in the eye and is most commonly due to aging. It can also be caused by the use of medications such as steroids, smoking, trauma to the eye and prolonged UV exposure.

The first few signs of cataracts are blurring of vision, glares or haloes at night or discolouration of objects.

Thankfully, blindness caused by cataracts are reversible via surgery. With advancements in technology, cataract surgery is performed as a day surgery, needing only topical anaesthetic eyedrops.

2.Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a chronic eye disease whereby increased intraocular pressure in the eyes causes damage to the optic nerves at the back of your eyes. The optic nerves are responsible for sending messages from the eye to the brain.

Glaucoma is commonly known as ‘the silent thief of sight”. During the early stages of glaucoma, there are no symptoms and hence the condition progresses undiagnosed. Often times, it is only when the patient experiences symptoms such as poor night vision that it is diagnosed. By then, the damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible, and can lead to blindness in serious cases. Glaucoma accounts for 40% of blindness in Singapore.

3.Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye disease that affects patients with diabetes. Blood vessels at the retina, the light sensitive portion of the eye is being affected. Diabetic eye disease can also cause swelling at the back of the eye, affecting patient’s vision. People who have had diabetics for many years or have poorly controlled diabetics are at higher risk of having diabetic eye disease.

4.Age-Related Macular Degeneration

AMD commonly affects patients over the age of 50. In this condition, the macula, the back of the eye that is responsible for sharp, central vision is being affected. Patients who smoke or have family history of AMD are at higher risk of being affected by AMD.

Damage caused by AMD is irreversible. Hence, it is important to carry out comprehensive dilated eye examinations yearly

These conditions are commonly found in patients above the age of 40. Schedule a yearly eye examination to detect these eye conditions early.

Book your appointment with us now.

How to Choose the Right Eye Doctor for your LASIK or Refractive Surgery?

Making the decision for a life-changing procedure – Refractive Surgery is difficult. But, what is more difficult is to choose the right eye doctor to perform the procedure for you. Here are some tips for you in order to choose the best doctor effectively:

Get recommendation from your physician. For those who have a family doctor, paediatrician or gynaecologist, you may ask for their recommendations on who you should consult for a Refractive Surgery. These doctors have known you for long time and they will not put their reputation or your trust at risk by referring the wrong doctor. Furthermore, your physician knows your medical history and he or she can be the best person to help you in choosing an eye doctor that specializes in your needs. You may also ask the reason of them recommends a particular surgeon to you. Run a check up on the medical portal of doctors ( Singapore Medical Council ) to find out the credential of the doctor.

Ask your friends or relatives. If there is someone you know who has had their eyesight corrected, you may ask for their recommendations. They would be able to tell you how is their result and experience in a specific eye specialist centre. Sometimes they can even bring you to the eye specialist centre that they have visited. This may make your first visit to that centre being more comfortable since your friends or relatives know the staffs over there.

Ask the staffs in the eye specialist centre. Well, you may not be convinced with this as staffs are generally on the side of their own doctor. However, it may be helpful by asking the staffs more specific questions such as:

  • Does your doctor patiently answer questions from patients?
  • Would you recommend your doctor to your relatives?
  • Can you share the credentials of your doctor?
  • May I read the testimonials from your patients?

Meet the eye doctor. No other way can describe a person better than you personally see him/her. This is in fact the most direct way of deciding your refractive surgeon. Very often that trust is built up after your own experience with the doctor. So, it is time to schedule an appointment to meet the surgeon.

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Must Know FAQs about LASIK & Refractive Surgery

Are you thinking about correcting your eyesight permanently? However, there are too many question marks in your mind? Heard from your friends about LASIK but not sure whether is that the truth? You may find your answer below:

Q1. How does LASIK or Refractive Surgery remove my short-sightedness and astigmatism?

chartFirst of all, you must understand why a person is diagnosed with refractive errors (e.g. short-sightedness, astigmatism and etc). Having refractive error means the light was not focused on the light sensitive tissue lining of our eye  (retina), resulting in blurred image. By reshaping the outer part of our eye (cornea), the light can be re-focused on the retina and people who previously need eyeglasses or contact lenses, may not need that anymore.

How to reshape the cornea? By applying “cool” beam laser. This is how the term LASIK been established – Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis.

Q2: Am I qualified to go for LASIK or Refractive Surgery?

Honestly speaking, we cannot answer you without a proper eye assessment. However, there are some general guidelines for those who are interested to get rid of their eyeglasses or contact lenses.

  1. Healthy eye. There are no eye diseases or abnormalities present at the moment as it may affect your qualification. Any eye condition should be solved before the surgery.
  2. Stable eye prescription for at least 1 year. There should be ≤ 0.50 dioptre change in your eye prescription for the past 12 months. Patients who have significant change in their eyesight will be monitored and surgery day should be postponed until their eyesight is stabilized.
  3. Aged 18 years and above. Patients under 18 years old tend to have unstable eyesight and therefore, Refractive Surgery is usually not recommended for them.
  4. For ladies – you are not nursing or pregnant. Eye prescription may fluctuate in ladies who are expecting a baby or nursing due to the hormonal changes in their body.
  5. No Autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Sjogren’s Syndrome may result in poor visual outcome and increase the risk of complications after Refractive

Q3: Will I get perfect vision after the procedure?

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Though doctors strive to make the refractive error zero after Refractive Surgery, this may not always be possible. Refractive Surgery aims to reduce a person’s dependence on spectacle or contact lenses. No one can guarantee you a perfect vision after Refractive Surgery. Our vision may change with time regardless of any Refractive Surgery. Hence, even if one have had Refractive Surgery, he or she may still need eyeglasses at certain phase of life after the procedure.

Q4: Is LASIK or Refractive Surgery painful?

No, it is usually not painful. This is because the doctor will use anaesthetic drops to fully numb your eye before the surgery begins. During the process, you may feel some mild pressure sensation and temperature around the eye, but no pain at all. You will also be prescribed with eye drops to provide comfort after your surgery.

Q5: How much does a LASIK or Refractive Surgery cost?

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The price ranges from $3500 up to $6500 in Singapore. It may be difficult to find a solid price about the procedure as there are different types of surgery which come with different pricing. A lot of people may choose the most economic treatment but we strongly advise you to choose the most suitable treatment for your eyes. A one-time off payment for a life-time vision, it is totally worth the money.

Eye Myths! True Or False?

We have all heard about eye myths since growing up. Are they true? Or are they just old wives tales? Read on to find out!

  1. Carrots will improve eyesight.

Since young, we were told by our parents to finish the carrots on our plates as they would help us to see better. This old rumour started since World War 2, when the British boasted that their pilots were better able to see at night due to carrots. In actual fact, it was their secret radar system.  Carrots contain Vitamin A and Lutein, nutrients that are beneficial to the eye. Eating carrots will provide you with the small amount of Vitamin A needed for good vision, but the belief that carrots help improve vision is a stretch.

  1. Reading in low light environment will affect the eyesight.

Contrary to popular belief, reading in poor illuminations do not affect eyesight. It may cause headaches or eye fatigue, but it is only a temporary discomfort. While it is more difficult to read in the dark, reading in low light conditions will not damage the eye in any way. Centuries ago when electricity was not available, people read and worked by candle lights that offered far less light than now.

  1. Wearing glasses, especially in your youth, is detrimental to your vision and will make it worse.

Spectacles are prescribed to correct blurry vision. Some people feel that wearing spectacles would cause an increase in their prescription or cause them to be more reliant on their glasses due to the wearer getting more used to sharp and crisp vision that was not available before. Refractive errors are actually due to the length of the eyeball being too long or short, causing light to fall elsewhere other than the retina.  In fact, not wearing prescription glasses when needed may lead to even poorer vision than before.

  1. Vision loss/impairment with old age is not preventable (or rather inevitable).

With age, there are many types of changes that can occur in the eye. Common conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are a few of them. The vision loss caused by cataracts are inevitable and progresses with age, but they are reversible via a simple surgery. Unfortunately, for the other conditions mentioned, they can only be detected during eye checks or when the symptoms are experienced. In those cases, vision impairment would have occurred and is unfortunately irreversible. It is therefore important to have annual eye exams to detect any eye conditions. Earlier treatments allow a better visual outcome for most people.

  1. “Overusing” the eyes can wear them out.

Over using anything will wear things out, and the same goes for the eye. Nowadays, many people spend a large amount of time behind the computer and phone for work or leisure. Doing near work for long hours can cause dry eyes due to reduced blinking rates, redness and also headaches. In some cases, it might even lead to accommodative spasm, whereby the muscles remain in a constant state of contraction. This would lead to blurring of objects at a distance. Overusing our eyes for their intended purpose will not cause blindness, but it can lead to varying degrees of eye fatigue. It is hence advisable to take regular breaks while doing intensive near work.

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  1. Lifestyle can/cannot affect your vision.

There are many lifestyle choices we make that can affect our vision. Having a diet that is high in sugar can lead to increased glucose levels, which would then cause fluctuating vision. Smoking, drinking and spending long hours under the computer can also lead to problems like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and dry eyes.  It is important to lead a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Wearing contact lenses at campfires or barbeques can cause them to melt in your eyes.

While enjoying a barbeque or a campfire, the usage of contact lenses is still reasonably safe if a safety distance is ensured. Contact lenses are sterilized in high temperatures of up to 121 degrees Celsius. The heat from BBQ and campfire should not melt the contact lens as the melting point of the contact lens is higher the boiling point of water. Also, at high heat levels, the human skin on the face would be affected by the heat way before the contact lens is affected.

  1. Sitting too close to screens/extensive use of screens will ruin the eyesight.

This myth started back in the 1960s when colour TV sets that were sold were found to emit amounts of radiation that were much higher than the safe limit. The TV sets were recalled, but the stigma still remains today. The act of reading and sitting close to computer screens and iPads do not ruin eyesight. They can, however, cause Asthenopia, known as fatigue or eye strain.   Staring closely at a screen forces our ciliary muscle, which affects how well we focus, to remain contracted without rest. This tires the eyes out after prolonged hours of near work. Blinking rate is also reduced when we stare at the screen. Blinking is important as it keeps the front surface of our eyes moist and lubricated. If the surface is dried out, the user would experience blurry or foggy vision, which would get better after blinking. It is therefore important to take regular vision breaks to protect our eyes from eyestrain and dry eyes.
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The Best Type of Cataract Surgery & Implants Choice

During the initial stages of cataract, prescription eyeglasses are changed or sunglasses are worn to counter the glare from bright lights. However, these do not totally remove the cataract and are only considered as temporary measures. If not treated properly, the cataract will gradually worsen. Symptoms of Cataract varies with severity and once it starts affecting your quality of life, treatment will then be required.

With the improvement in technology, patients can now undergo surgery to effectively remove cataract. In this surgery, the cataractous lens in the eye will be removed and will then be replaced with an intraocular lens implant.

Here are some of the types of cataract surgery:

Micro-incision Phacoemulsification Surgery – this is the current standard of cataract removal. This procedure uses ultrasound energy to liquify the cataracts in the patient’s eye. It allows the emulsified cataract to be removed through a narrow incision of 2 – 3 mm. The wounds are self-healing, so stitches are not required. This allows the patient to recover and heal faster.

Laser-assisted Cataract Surgery this procedure is known in the industry for having great potential in treating cataracts. It is considered as the next phase in the improvement of minimally invasive cataract surgery. In LACS, there is improved wound construction, gentle on the eye and allows greater predictability in lens positioning. It also offers advantages in certain forms of complex cataract surgery.

There are also different types of lens implants available in the market:

Multifocal IOLs – These lenses have different zones in different areas of the lens, enabling the patient to clearly see objects at both far and near. It decreases the need for computer or reading glasses after their cataract surgery. This is ideal for patients who find that prescription glasses are a hassle and want to be rid of them.

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The above picture demonstrate vision through a multifocal lens implant. Both far and near objects are clear.

 

Toric IOLs Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens are misshapen. Toric lens implants are intraocular lenses that are used to correct astigmatism using the different powers in different meridians of the lens.

 

Monofocal IOLs – these lenses provide corrective power in only one portion of your visual range, typically distance vision. We may select monofocal IOLs that are for near, mid, or distant focus. Only one of these three can be selected sand the focus will not change after surgery. During your exam and consultation, we can help you choose the best IOL for your needs.

monoiol monovision

The above picture demonstrate vision through a monofocal lens implant.

 

Before any lens implant can be selected for you, you will need to let the surgeon know your lifestyle needs and requirements so that he is able to select a lens that is most suitable for you.

 

Is Everyone a Candidate for LASIK or Refractive Surgery?

Very often we heard those who are wearing glasses or contact lenses that “One day I’m going to laser off my power”. However, majority of them are not aware of their suitability for Refractive Surgery. Some of those who are desperate to get their eyesight corrected surgically may not be a good candidate. Here are some basic requirements to qualify a person undergoing Refractive Surgery:

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  1. Healthy Eyes

There should not be any eye diseases (especially corneal abnormalities) prior to Refractive Surgery. The reason is that any untreated eye disease or corneal abnormalities can affect the result of procedure. This is why we advise a comprehensive eye assessment before you proceed with any eye treatment. In fact, everyone should get at least one comprehensive eye assessment per year to examine the health of their eyes regardless of the consideration of any treatment. Certain eye diseases can be treated if it is detected early during the comprehensive eye assessment.

  1. You Must Be Able to Refrain from Contact Lens Wear

Before you go for Pre-Operative Eye Assessment or Refractive Surgery, your doctor or optometrist will advise you to refrain from wearing your soft contact lenses for about 1 week (Hard contact lenses – 1 month). This is because contact lens wear can change the shape of the outer part of your eye – cornea and results in inaccurate examination and treatment planning. In many cases, insufficient contact lens laying off period can cause dry eye in patients and they have to defer surgery day. Patients who are concerned about their eyeglasses look will need to schedule their eye assessment and surgery appropriately.

  1. You Must Be an Adult

A patient must be at least 18 years old to undergo Refractive Surgery. Most providers will not perform Refractive Surgery on those patients who are under 18 years old because they tend to have unstable eye prescription.

  1. You Must Be Able to Lie Flat without Discomfort

Although the laser correction is usually done within 1 minute, the whole procedure will take up to approximately 20 minutes to complete as your eye doctor needs to clean your eyes after the procedure. Patients will need to lie down on the bed throughout the treatment. For those who are having health conditions that may affect lying down posture, we advise them to treat the condition before going for Refractive Surgery.

How will ReLEx SMILE benefit me?

Before we delve deeper into how ReLEx SMILE surgery can help you, let us first define what this procedure means.

SMILE is an acronym for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It is the most advanced laser refractive surgery and is minimally invasive. In this procedure, a 2-4mm incision is created via laser. A lenticule is created, and is then extracted via the same incision.Relex

What are the advantages of ReLEx® SMILE?

  • Comfortable and gentle

Many patients prefer ReLEx SMILE surgery as it is relatively painless and comfortable. As compared to LASIK, the surgeon will no longer need to create a thin, circular flap in the cornea that is needed to access the underlying cornea to remove corneal tissue. During the surgery, the patient’s eye will be anaesthetised using eye drops. A single 24 second laser is then used to create a small incision of less than 4 mm. This is gentler on the eye and allows a faster recovery period.

  • Zero flap complications

ReLEx® SMILE is carried out under the surface of the cornea. As ReLEx® SMILE is flapless, this also means that the patient will not need to worry about any flap dislodgement or displacement. This procedure is ideal for people who do contact sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts or soccer.

  • Stable refractive outcomes

As compared to traditional LASIK, ReLEx® SMILE surgery is not just effective and predictable.  This procedure also provides stability that is superior to other laser treatments.

  • Minimally invasive

Due to the smaller wound created, ReLEx® SMILE results in a much stronger eye and less discomfort and tearing right after the surgery. With the use of a small incision, fewer corneal nerves are disrupted during the procedure, resulting in lower incidences of dry eyes as compared to LASIK. Patients are also less or totally not dependent on lubricating eyedrops months after the procedure.

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  • Changes in vision can be seen in just a few hours

Another great thing about ReLEx SMILE is that your vision will start to improve in just a few hours after your surgery. You will achieve functional vision within the first 24 hours, and vision will continue to improve steadily in the coming days and weeks after surgery. You are advised to take at least 3 days off work to allow your eyes to heal faster. You will need to return to the clinic the next day for a follow up.

Uncover the Myths about LASIK

Uncover the Myths about LASIK

Despite a nearly 30 years’ history of LASIK or Refractive Surgery, there are still some myths among those who are concerned about the procedure. Let’s discuss the common myths that we usually encounter nowadays.

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Myth #1: LASIK or Refractive Surgery is painful.

Truth: Generally, there will not be any pain sensation on the eye during the Refractive Surgery procedure. The reason being is your eye doctor will instill anaesthetic eye drops to numb your eye. The anaesthetic effect will usually last until the whole procedure has been completed. Therefore, you will feel no pain even after you step out the operation theatre. However, there might be mild grittiness or stinging sensation which will usually last for the first few hours after the procedure. With the World’s most advanced Refractive Surgery – Small Lenticule Extraction (ReLEx Smile), it greatly reduces the mild grittiness that may occur after the procedure.

Myth #2: LASIK or Refractive Surgery may cause blindness.

Truth: Although nowadays Refractive Surgery is performed under high levels of safety, it is still considered as a surgery whereby certain risks may be involved. However, the number of blind cases due to Refractive Surgery is still ZERO in Singapore. Therefore, a thorough eye examination followed by doctor’s consultation are important to review all benefits and risks of Refractive Surgery before making decision.

Myth #3: I will not need any eyeglasses after LASIK or Refractive Surgery

Truth: Our vision may change with time regardless of any Refractive Surgery. Hence, even if one have had Refractive Surgery, he or she may still need eyeglasses at certain phase of life after the procedure. For instance, all of us will start to have reading difficulty when we reach the age of 40 to 50s due to the loss of crystalline lens elasticity – Presbyopia. Eyeglasses with near reading prescription can easily overcome this issue.

Myth #4: Laser may burn your eyes.

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Truth: A “cold” laser named Excimer is used in certain Refractive Surgery. “Cold” laser means that it does not burn the corneal cells, in fact, it disrupts the molecular bond that holds together the corneal cells. However, some patients may report burning smell during the procedure. The odour is from the chemical reaction of the laser on the cornea. Some refractive surgery machines have a build-in vacuum device to remove the odour.

 

Myth #5: There are permanent side effects from LASIK or Refractive Surgery.

Truth: Laser surgery is still considered a surgery, and with every surgery there are risks involved. One common side effect after LASIK is dry eyes, and they usually lessen with time. However, in a small number of patients, it may be permanent. This can be overcome by the use of lubricating eyedrops.

How Do I Know If I Have Cataracts?

How Do I Know If I Have Cataracts?

Cataracts begin to develop when the lens inside the eye has started to become cloudy. This occurs due to aging. In some cases, younger people may also develop this condition due to other medical conditions. These include patients with diabetes or any other inflammatory conditions. Patients with previous history of trauma to the eye may also develop cataracts at a younger age.

Below are some signs that you may have a cataract:

  • Cloudy vision
  • Colours appear less rich as before
  • Night vision problems such as glares and haloes
  • Seeing a ‘film’ over the eye
  • Blurred vision that is not able to be corrected by glasses

Patients may not notice the effects of cataracts during the initial stages as changes to vision are usually minimal. As the cataract progresses, patients may notice that their vision is gradually affected and might find it hard to complete their day-to-day tasks such as driving, cooking or reading. Once this occurs, you are advised to visit an eye specialist to get your eyes checked.

What treatments are available for cataracts?

The progression of cataracts may be slowed down by wearing sun protection such as sunglasses and hats, having a balanced diet and controlling systemic conditions such as diabetes. However, the only effective treatment available for cataracts is surgery. It is commonly misunderstood that a cataract should be “ripe” before it can be removed. Surgery may be advised once the doctor examines your eyes and patients find that impaired vision caused by the cataracts is interfering with their daily activities.

With advancements in technology, cataracts can now be treated via keyhole cataract surgery. A small incision is made and the cataract is broken down and removed via that small incision. An intraocular lens implant is then inserted. With the suitable lens implant, patients can achieve good satisfactory vision.

Post-operatively, patients are required to instill eyedrops to prevent infections and to allow quick recovery. They are also advised to return to see the surgeon for regular post op follow-ups.

Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedures performed today. It is safe, fast and reliable, and is also Medisave claimable.

 

 

Why Is My Vision Blurred?

Blurred vision may be an indication that your prescription of your glasses had gone up but it can also be a indication of other eye or general conditions too.  Sudden blurry of vision is NOT normal. If you experience it, consult your eye doctor immediately.

There are several reasons for the cause of blurry vision.

 1. Your eye prescription had really gone up

As simple as it sounds, yes, it could be one of the many reasons why you are experiencing blurred vision. The Optometrist determines the degree of refractive error you have by performing a test called refraction. Your optometrist present different powered lenses to find the best combination of lenses for you to see clearly.

Treatment options: Prescription glasses, contact lenses, Orthokeratology, or refractive surgery.

Refractive surgeries options: PRK (1st generation), LASIK (2nd generation), ReLEx SMILE (3rd generation)

 

  1. Vision is cloudy or blurred due to cataract

Patients aged 40 and above are at a increased risk of cataract formation. Cataracts occur when there is a build-up of proteins in the lens of your eye that makes it cloudy. Patients with cataracts may complain of reduction in vision in both distance and near vision, experiencing glares, difficulty with night vision and report that colours are not as bright as before.

Treatment options: Cataract removal surgery

 

  1. Your Cornea Shape is Changing

A condition known as keratoconus is a disorder which results in a conical abnormal bulge to the front part of the eye. Keratoconus has been shown to have associations with hereditary predisposition.  Symptoms include blurry vision, distortion, multiple images seen, sensitivity to light, and mild eye irritation. 

Treatment options: Cornea cross-linking (CXL), gas permeable contact lenses, scleral and semi-scleral lenses or corneal transplant.

 

  1. Uncontrolled diabetes

Sudden blurry of vision may be due to condition like diabetes affecting your eyes. In cases of patient with diabetes, they experience fluctuating vision, blurred vision, or even vision loss. This condition may lead to an eye disease known as diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, it may eventually lead to blindness.

Treatment options for diabetic retinopathy: Laser Photocoagulation

 If you do experience blurred vision, schedule an eye appointment with our ophthalmologist to identify the true cause of it.