Singapore is known for our high myopia rate and many have turned to LASIK surgery to correct their eyesight. However, there are still misconceptions about the procedure that are preventing many from achieving better vision, and we are glad to have Dr. Lee Sao Bing from Shinagawa Eye Centre on-board to answer some of our questions in this interview.
There are so many different types of LASIK surgeries to help us restore our perfect vision in the market. Is there a best laser that we should go for?
Different methods of refractive surgery suit different people. It is more important to go with an eye doctor that is well versed with the surgery rather than to choose a particular method or laser. At the end of the pre-LASIK assessment, your doctor will go through the data of your eyes with you and then discuss with you the best method that suits your eyes.
How safe are LASIK surgeries? Is there any downtime?
For ideal candidates, LASIK is a very safe and effective procedure. But like all surgery, it is not without the potential for complications. While there are certain problems and side effects that can be associated with LASIK, most of which can be treated. These include dry eyes and night visual disturbances (glare and haloes). Both of these side effects are temporary and will fade away after a few months. Dry eyes can easily be treated with lubricant eye drops. Infection is very rare and if it does happen, there are good antibiotics to treat the condition.
For Intralase LASIK, you can return to work just after 3 days and you can get back to jogging and gym after 1 week.
Will myopia return after a successful LASIK surgery? If so, can we do another LASIK surgery to correct it again?
Myopia can return without good eye care habits and LASIK surgery can be done again if there is sufficient cornea thickness left after the first surgery. Share this concern with your doctor and he will be able to advise you more by looking at the data of your eyes.
We heard sayings that we cannot wear contact lenses anymore after LASIK surgery. Is that true?
This is not true. It depends on the cornea curvature after the LASIK procedure. If the cornea is too flat after the procedure, one would then have to custom make a contact lens to fit that cornea. Ask your eye doctor before your LASIK and he will be able to tell you if your post-LASIK cornea will still fit regular contact lenses that can be bought from optical shops.
Last but not least, can you share some eye care tips with us since Singapore has a high myopia rate?
The main cause of increasing myopia (short-sightedness) is the amount of near work (such as reading, writing) that we do.
- The important tips to prevent your myopia from increasing include:
- 1. Reduce time spent on near work
- Reduce the time spent on hand-held electronic devices
Take a break after 30-40 minutes of near work such as reading or writing. Look at distant objects (for example, look out the window) for several minutes.
- 2. Increase time spent on outdoor activities every day
- There is increasing evidence that outdoor activities may delay the onset or progression of myopia in children. Spend some time daily outdoors jogging, cycling or walking in the park.
- Outdoor activities should not include using hand-held electronic devices.
- 3. Encourage other healthy eye care habits
- Ensure there is adequate lighting in the room.
- When reading, hold the book about 30 cm away.
- Make sure when using the computer, the monitor screen is about 50 cm away.
- Sit at a distance from the TV that is appropriate to its size, at least about 2 to 2.5m away.
- 4. Go for eye check-ups
Go for eye check-ups if you are squinting to look at things, having headaches or blurred vision. Glasses or contact lenses of the appropriate degree will alleviate these symptoms.
About Dr. Lee Sao Bing
Credit: Shinagawa Eye Centre
Dr Lee Sao Bing joined Shinagawa Eye Centre as Medical Director in 2008. As the principal surgeon in charge, he fronts the centre and oversees overall operations and management.
Prior to joining Shinagawa Eye Centre, Dr Lee served at the National University Hospital as Head of Cornea Service in the Department of Ophthalmology for four years. His work there involved performing many types of eye surgeries, teaching medical students and young doctors; and carrying out eye research. He was concurrently appointed as Clinical Teacher with the National University of Singapore (NUS).
A medical school graduate from NUS, Dr Lee was awarded the National Medical Research Council Fellowship to pursue eye research at the prestigious Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in the USA in 1997. During his training to be an eye specialist, he won the Young Investigator Award for four years consecutively. He is Fellowship trained in the field of Cornea and Refractive Surgery, which means that he has a special interest in treating dry eyes, contact lens problems, allergic eye disease and all aspects of LASIK surgery. He has been invited to many International Conferences to speak on various medical issues related to the eye and has published many research papers in international peer-reviewed journals.
Dr Lee is married with 2 children. Despite his busy schedule, he believes in having a balanced lifestyle, spending time with his family and pursuing his varied interests and hobbies, which includes sports and music.