Whenever someone with eagle vision asked me how 500-degrees and Myopia “look like”, I would say, “okay cross/cock your eyes a bit until you can’t read anything, that’s how it looks.”
Even though I adapted to contact lens over the years, spectacles gave me frequent headaches and I hated it whenever I forgot to bring my solution or case (always one or the other) during overseas trips/sleepovers.
However, due to common misconceptions about LASIK such as price (explained in my first post), I used to see it as a “want” more than a “need” – till I found out that there is a bladeless pain-free method called iLASIK that NASA astronauts use and it’s about a reasonable $3k+ for both eyes.
Now I understand why every post-LASIK person told me “it’s the best decision ever” due to the sheer convenience, health and comfort.
ARRIVAL AT DR NATASHA LIM EYE CENTRE, MOUNT ELIZABETH NOVENA HOSPITAL
I consulted eye surgeon, Dr Natasha Lim, with my parents who were keen to fix their eyes too (heredity at its best haha). However, they underwent cataract surgery which I’ll blog about another time.
Do note that she is located at Mount Elizabeth Novena #04-31/32 (5 minutes walk from Novena MRT), NOT the branch in Orchard (behind Paragon). Novena’s branch has a lush hotel-esque lobby with a Starbucks near the lift, steps away from the entrance and carpark.
When we arrived, her nurses and optometrist helped us with 3 optical checks first (pictured below).
For machine 1 (aka the Auto Refractor), I had to look through a peephole and wait till a picture of the farmhouse could be clearly seen so they could capture an estimate spectacle prescription. For machine 2 (Air Puff Test), I had to open my eyes big and stare at a dot for a quick puff of air to shoot into my eyes, which always made me jerk and giggle. This was to test my eye pressure.
For machine 3 (Pentacam), I looked at a blue light whilst my cornea got scanned for thickness and curvature, to determine my safety to undergo LASIK surgery.
For machine 4 (iDesign), it uses NASA’s wavefront-guided technology to map out my eyes’ night vision. During the actual LASIK surgery, Dr Natasha Lim will superimpose the map onto my cornea 360 degrees for added precision and further improve my post operative night vision, so that I will have no glare and haloes at night.
Next, we did the standard refraction lens check – you know, the one where you stare at ZBGDOPV and answer if this or that is clearer.
While killing time before our consultation, we watched a video of her TV appearance talking about cataract, and helped ourselves to her Nespresso machine!
MEETING MY EYE SURGEON, DR NATASHA LIM
When I was ushered to Dr Natasha Lim’s room, she had already looked through all the test results and took one more eye check before speaking in crisp English:
“Chevonne, I’m happy to say you’re a perfect candidate for iLASIK, very healthy eyes. Beautiful cornea thickness that is thicker than oriental standards.” People with thin corneas cannot undergo iLASIK (refer to my first post).
It was a long time since I heard someone articulate my name “Chev-vawn” with such precision, apart from my mother who wanted it “Shee-vawn” but Singaporeans made it “Sher-von/Sha-won” – perhaps it’s easier on the tongue.
The way Dr Natasha Lim patiently enlightened me about the optical world reminded me of a National Geographic host raving over his favourite “beautiful creature”. It’s always nice to see specialists so committed in their various fields that make Singapore a world-class medical hub.
After all, Dr Natasha Lim‘s Eye Centre is 1 of only 2 clinics offering iDesign iLASIK in Singapore, and her results are published worldwide on the iDesign iLasik Registry to provide guidance to iLASIK surgeons worldwide.
After confirming my suitability for iLASIK, I waited till it was my parents’ turn.
Likewise, she checked their eyes through the machine in her room and flashed what she saw on the television screen beside her.
She explained to my parents that they both presbyopia and cataracts, hence LASIK was not a cost-effective solution for the long term, as their cataracts would eventually have to be removed.
My mother is highly myopic, with 900 degrees in each eye and suffered from Presbyopia (aka Lao Hua in Mandarin). She has been a soft contact lens wearer for 38 years, which worsened her dry eyes due to age.
Dr Natasha Lim asked them about their nature of occupation and customised the cataract surgery and lens implants based on their daily visual needs. For example, if they required long hours on the computer/driving/reading, etc.
She recommended a customised cataract surgery to remove their cataracts and implant custom fit multi-focal lens implants (with UV protection) for the master eye to see far and the non-master eye to read up close. This would remove cataracts, improve vision and provide total spectacle freedom all in one go!
The consultation took about an hour and was extremely professional. They told my parents they could think about it first before confirming and both my mum and dad went ahead with the surgery, which I’ll talk about in the next post as my mum so kindly wrote 6 pages about it with hilarious explanations I have to share.
….To be continued!