Monday, March 15, 2010

LASIK (Day -1) 9th March 2010

I am trying to catalog my LASIK experience, in the hope that my dearie and brother and my friends would find useful when the time comes. Or, less so, anyone who might stumble upon this blog.

My LASIK surgery was done at:
Parkway Eye Centre
Gleneagles Hospital
Level 3, Hospital Block

Tel: 6470 3366

by Dr Lee Hung Ming. Homepage of his website above. Supposedly, he is one of the best in Singapore and has done for the ladies who scaled Mt. Everest and a lot of overseas clients. And there are a couple of forums and people who recommended him, on- and offline. So though he's private specialist, I have decided my eyes deserved that kind of treatment. But I must say, except for the hole in the wallet, I have not regretted taking him as my doctor.

Unfortunately, the website for his clinic (he is the only doctor in that clinic by the way) is not very informative in the pricing... So it's best to call.

Oh, one more important information, he does his operations on Wed, Thurs and Fri only. So if you are thinking of doing the op immediately after preassessment, pick your dates appropriately. And he does give MC =)

Day -1
Day -1 (9th Mar 2010) was also my LASIK preassessment day. -1 literally means the day before the surgery. Because I wear toric soft lenses (for astigmatism), the 1-month disposable kind, the eye clinic actually told me to stop wearing them for at least 3 days. I, instead, stopped it for an entire week (sorry ah kiasu!). I read online that, to be safe, best to stop wearing them for a month! LOLX. So lots of different variations. But anyway, mine was a week. Because contact lenses change the shape of your cornea, it is essential to take them off for your cornea to return to the original shape. Depending on when you have decided to do your LASIK operation itself, it might be best to stop wearing contact lenses for your preassessment as if it were the operation.

Please bring your glasses along. I scheduled my appointment in the morning at 10.20am, ended around 12nn. There was a huge TV at the clinic, showing only HBO. Being a TV person that I was, I was quite happy haha. There were quite a number of people, so I was expecting a long wait, considering only one doctor and 1/2 opthalmologists for consultation. But it turned out, it was quite fast. Because I have done my preassessments twice before, one at National University Hospital (NUH) (previous post) and the other at The Lasik Surgery Clinic at Paragon, I kind of know what to expect. The preassessment was done by their opthalmologist - first testing the degree of myopia of my eyes (without glasses), they will also test your glasses refractive I think. Then eye pressure, where a machine puffed out some air into your eyes. Then cornea topography and thickness. Also lastly, they added some drops to dilate my pupils. Apparently this is to check the maximum dilation of your pupils, to see if the LASIK cut of your cornea fits that max area. The dilation will make you sensitive to light and you can't see things that are near for a while.

During this waiting time for dilation and consultation, a nurse came by and went through some counselling and the pricing for the procedures and packages available. She was quite nice and patient, explaining about some things I asked. I realised she didn't wear specs too. But didn't ask whether she is perfect eyesight or did LASIK. She explained that there are 2 procedures available, one is the microkeratome one, which is much cheaper, like 1099SGD for one eye (promotion) and their most popular procedure, the intralase, 1688SGD per eye. She said I could change on the op day itself if I want to switch back to microkeratome. I am quite adamant in my choice of the intralase, since I have already read in forums about the success of intralase, which is more precise (using laser) than manual cutting (still gives me the creeps, I mean how do you cut precisely a micrometer across my eyes with your human fingers, even if with robotic arms?!?). I am willing to pay more for my eyes (you only have one set, money can be earned) and since Dr. Lee is famous for intralase and is definitely more confident, and also since I have already decided to do, what's the difference when the money is going away anyway. What's more important is getting satisfactory results, and that for me means TOTAL unreliance on glasses. Anything short of that, I will feel quite disappointed and even somewhat cheated...

Anyway, the package including the treatment for both eyes using intralase, medication and 2 post-op consultation + GST is about 3709.69SGD. The pre-assessment, btw, is an ADDITIONAL 197SGD. So at the base level, you would need about a 4K for Dr. Lee Hung Ming.

Anyway, due to many reasons, I have decided to do my operation the next day (Wed). So I scheduled it in the morning at 8.30am, before I see the doctor.

I have heard and read about how nice and nice Dr Lee is. I went to google him, and read that he's a Malaysian, got his MD in NUS and was a state Badminton player. Whoa, all rounder. I find him quite ok, nice of course, but I feel there seems to be this layer of facade he is trying to put up. Nonetheless, he was always at smiles, even when you posed something negative. He explained that after checking myopia (-500 R, -475 L) and astigmatism (100 R 75 L), cornea thickness (500++ - very thick) my chances of getting 6/6 is 99%. Then he explained the 1% comes from the risk involved in any operations, that the worst case scenario is blindness, due primarily to infection. He told me the number of cases with infection amongst his >15,000 clients is 0. He asked me not to break his record... Anyway, he was pretty professional and nice and answered my questions about post-LASIK travelling (can travel the next day if all's ok), sports (no contact sports for one month at least, squash included) and no swimming. I feel his "smileyness" exudes a kind of positivity in an otherwise more serious talk about the pros and cons of LASIK surgery. Thus, I concluded, he needs that to pacify the turbulent feelings the patients already have and I would say it worked. Because I came out, feeling indeed more positive and less uncertain. Which is best both for him and for me.

These are some links I read, FYI:
Punggol Forum
Singapore Brides Forum
Eagle Eye Centre
Shinigawa LASIK Centre
LASIK chronicles Blog (recommended)
Blog
LASIK flap healing (recommended)
Article on corneal healing 1
Article on corneal healing 2
Today Online

4 comments:

Lawrence said...

I had a bad experience with Dr Lee. In my opinion, he is more interested in making money than to provide good service to customers. Let me explain further:

Last week, I called parkway eye centre to make a LASIK post-operations appointment. The receptionist explained to me that as my LASIK was done 1 year ago, I have to pay additional fees for slight vision correction. I argued with her as I received assurance from them that I can opt for vision correction for 3 years for free after my LASIK operation. Now, they say it's only up till 1 year. zzz

I went to see Dr Lee and he said I have 50 degrees of astigmatism after LASIK and is considered low. He said there are risks and costs to be weighed before undergoing the vision correction and he recommended me to see him after 6 months. He also claimed that the vision correction is only valid for 1 year. zzzz. The clinic's motto is building relationship through trust. WHERE IS THE TRUST?!

jm said...

Sorry to hear that =( Your frustration is absolutely justified! is the validity of that assurance somehow recorded? I don't think I had that assurance when I signed up. But it might be a useful piece of evidence to hold them accountable. So did you go ahead with the vision correction? Wish you luck, Lawrence!

TerryEd said...

Thanks for sharing! Would you like to share your experience on http://lasiksingaporeguide.com/

jm said...

Hi TerryEd, sure, you can link your posts to my entries if that's what you mean.