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Dr Natasha Lim Eye Centre Review: Presbyopia/Lao Hua, Vision Correction & Cataract Surgery (Part 2)

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(Continued from part 1)

The next day, my mum went back to Dr Natasha Lim Eye Centre for the same procedure on her right ‘non- master’ eye that also had a custom fit Toric Mono-focal lens implant, this time it was specially tailored for her to provide long hours of reading.


No Downtime After Operation

With the type of stitchless, small – incision cataract surgery that my mum had, there was no downtime, although my mum mentioned that her eyes felt slightly tired.

Post-op 2nd day: my mum was told she can shower and wash hair as per normal, if shampoo gets into her eyes it is ok. She may steam, fry and BBQ, do any exercise such as gym and jogging from 2nd day onwards. This is because she had micro-incisional cataract surgery which heals immediately.

She was advised not to use make up for 3 days following her op,  so some people may prefer to take medical / hospitalisation leave for a few days and simply just rest at home.


Vision Normalising After Cataract Operation

Right after the operation, my mum’s vision was clear but reading was still a bit “new” and unnatural as she had to allow more time to adapt to the different system (mono-vision, i.e. one eye sees far, other eye reads) that had been programmed into her eyes.

Her left eye was fitted with a custom Mono-focal lens implant for long distance vision, while her right eye’s Mono-focal lens implant was fitted for close-up reading.

However, Dr Natasha and team told her to avoid being too conscious of the difference and to continue using both eyes at all times.

Follow-Ups After Both Cataract Surgeries Were Complete

There were 3 follow-up sessions to ensure the surgery was successful and the recovery smooth-sailing; 1 day post-op, 1 week later and 1 month later.

Initially, she had to adjust print material (newspapers etc) to get the most ‘comfortable’ distance (“sweet spot”). Now, she can get into the sweet spot almost immediately and be ready in focus for reading!

So now my mum and I are the same – neither one of us need to wear glasses at all, but we took on different surgeries due to our age. Dr Natasha recommended what was suitable for my age (Lasik) and what was a permanent solution to wearing glasses for my mum who was in her 50s – Cataract Surgery and Mono-vision Lens Implantation.

Post-Surgery Outcome

Although my mum wishes that she had done it earlier, she’s glad that Dr Natasha didn’t hard-sell any temporary solution for her cataract issue.

Results were good and my mum noticed clear vision for far distance immediately after the op. For reading, it gets better and better with time, and was at its best 3 months post-op.

Sometimes she forgets that she has near-perfect eyesight so she’ll reach out for her spectacle case whenever she wakes up (lol).

Now, she enjoys watching Korean drama while seated on the sofa that’s the furthest away from the TV and applying/removing makeup without the hassle of worrying about contact lenses. There’s also no need for her to fret over eye products to bring whenever she travels.

At 900-degrees, not wearing specs/lenses is almost equivalent to being blind because your vision will be entirely blur. But after 38 years of spending thousands on temporary solutions, this permanent solution is the BEST INVESTMENT EVER.

It sounds almost unreal. My father was so affected by me and my mum’s spectacle freedom that he later approached Dr Natasha for his cataract surgery, except this time, Dr Natasha recommended my father multi-focal lens implants ( instead of my mum’s mono-focal lens implants for mono-vision) as he was found to be a suitable candidate for multi-focal lens implants (your eyes need to be 100% perfect on clinical examination…. and his was!). Now my father enjoys binocular vision for all distances – far, near and intermediate.

 

Multi-focal lens implant to provide binocular vision.

Multi-focal lens implant to provide binocular vision.

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Dr Natasha Lim Eye Centre review: Presbyopia / Lao Hua Correction & Cataract Surgery (Part 1 of 2)

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For those of you whose ageing parents have eye problems, TAKE NOTE: This surgery was 100% painless with hardly any downtime.

My mum has been a 900-degrees soft contact lens wearer for the last 38 years, thanks to mild astigmatism, severe myopia and presbyopia (Lao Hua). After years of perpetually squinting and buying multiple pair of spectacles, and seeing me throw away my glasses after my Lasik surgery,  she finally got a permanent solution and had her eyes fixed at Dr Natasha Lim Eye Centre—where I did my Lasik surgery.

At first, she thought she was also going to have Lasik surgery, just like me. However, as my mum had a growing cataract, Dr Natasha advised against Lasik surgery (the initial procedure my mum had wanted) as it is only suitable for people without cataracts.

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Younger eye with no cataract (clear lens)

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Older eye with cataract (cloudy yellow lens)

Instead, she recommended Cataract Surgery and Lens Replacement using a customised Toric Mono-focal lens implant that could correct her myopia, astigmatism and presbyopia (Lao Hua) and make her vision clearer altogether, spectacle-free.

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High Definition (HD) Mono-focal lens implant to replace the cloudy lens from her eye

In order to understand my mum’s visual requirements, Dr Natasha asked about my mum’s lifestyle, her occupation and her interests / hobbies and tailored the surgery to suit her daily work routine. For example, the lens in her left eye aka ‘master eye’ is meant for long distance—so she won’t take the wrong bus and end up in Jurong—while her right eye ‘non-master eye’ is meant for reading.

Feelings Before Eye Consultation

Here are some thoughts she had:

– Had toyed with the idea of going through an eye operation but was confused by the variety of lens implants and refractive surgery procedures in the market.
– Thick glasses are heavy, slips down her nose when she perspires and can’t wear contact lenses for too long as it makes her eyes dry.
– Have been putting up with the discomfort and inconvenience (shifting between progressive lens glasses and reading glasses). She had not been adventurous with sports and leisure for most part of her life because of her thick glasses.
 
Dr Natasha’s team was extremely professional and the clinic is well equipped with the latest technology. They meticulously explained her options as well as the surgery what it would involve every step along the way, and didn’t “hard-sell” any procedure.

They would be performing stitchless, micro-incision 2 mm cataract surgery that promises immediate recovery of vision just 4 hours post-op, and the whole surgery would be performed without any sedation and within 15 minutes. After which, my mum would be free to go and would be able to make her own way home on public transport.

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Mum’s consultation with Dr Natasha

The cataract inside my mum’s eye would be sucked out using an ultrasound vacuum probe which is only 2 mm in size. Through the same 2 mm micro-incision, an acrylic, foldable mono-focal lens implant would pass through and into the eye to replace the cataract lens which has been removed. This mono-focal lens implant is of the highest –definition (HD) index to enable HD vision post-op. In addition, it would correct all my mum’s myopia, astigmatism and presbyopia, so that post-op she won’t need to wear glasses on her face, as what she needs to wear would have been implanted inside her eye permanently.   

It was amazing to see how immediately my mum saw the whole picture so clearly within a 30 minutes consultation and felt that she was prepared to do the surgery because she finally understood every step involved.    

3 Days Before First Cataract Operation on Left Eye

3 days pre-op: My mum had to stop using contact lenses so her vision could return to its most accurate degree. She underwent some basic health checks: ECG (heart tracing), blood pressure and urine test at Dr Natasha’s clinic. They took detailed measurements of her eyes to calculate for the lens implant powers and put in the order for the lens implants for her surgery to take place 3 days later.

1 day pre-op: She had to use 1 drop of ‘Zymar’ antibiotics 4 times a day to “prepare” the eye by killing germs.

6 hours pre-op: Fasting begins! No food and drinks anymore.

The surgery was split into two consecutive days; one eye at a time.

On The Day of The Cataract Surgery to the First Eye

Not only does Dr Natasha Lim Eye Centre have their own Lasik machines and Lasik operating theatre, they even have their own Cataract Surgery machines and Cataract Surgery operating theatre.

I understand that Dr Natasha is the only one with her own complete set of operating theatres for Lasik and Cataract Surgery, and the OTs are licensed and accredited by MOH. She has rooms and rooms of equipment and OTs that we have never seen before.

SECOND

So it was the day of cataract surgery to my mum’s left eye, her master eye! You could see that my mum was slightly nervous but still she was really motivated and keen to do this surgery.

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Once she slipped into her operation gown and wore her cap, a team of nurses assisted her into the operating room. It helped that Dr Lim and team were confident and assuring so my mum didn’t freak out. They cleaned her entire face and eye and then draped her whole body with a cover.

How The Actual Cataract Surgery Process Was Like

According to her, during the actual operation, she stared into “colourful lights like a kaleidoscope, but couldn’t see what was happening to her eyes at all. Throughout the operation, she heard an automated voice from a machine with an American accent calling out the settings of the machine to the team.

The cataract operation took around 20 minutes then she got up herself and simply walked out of the operating theatre. She was fully awake because there was no sedation at all. While waiting for the counter nurse to pack post-op eye medication for her to take home, other nurses offered her milo and biscuits. She had to wear a clear plastic eye cover for the duration of the journey home, and removed it once she reached home a day.

Thankfully, a nurse at the clinic had calmly told her to expect her post-op eye to look slightly ‘strange’ for a few hours and even drew it on a piece of paper! It normalised after 4 – 5 hours post-op and when my mum peered into her reflection she said “heng ah! I don’t look like a zombie. Phew.” Her post-op vision was at first blurred from the dilating drops used to dilate the eye for operation, but the vision was already clear after 4 hours post-op.

The procedure for her right eye continued the next day!