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

May 15, 2017

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 squinting and buying multiple pairs of spectacles, she finally got a permanent solution to have 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 as it’s 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, it 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 interests/hobbies.

Then, she 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 my mum 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 decades 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.

How The Surgery Would Be

They explained they’d be performing a stitchless, micro-incision 2 mm cataract surgery that promises immediate recovery of vision just 4 hours post-op. The whole surgery would be performed without any sedation. Within 15 minutes, 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 then 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. This mono-focal lens implant is of the highest–definition (HD) index to enable HD vision post-op.

In addition, it would correct my mum’s myopia, astigmatism and presbyopia. She’d be spectacle-free as her glasses would’ve been implanted inside her eye permanently. They explained every step to my mum patiently, so she was able to get a clear picture within 30 minutes.

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 three 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

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In Singapore, Dr Natasha Eye Centre 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 filled with equipment and ITs we had never seen before.

So it was the day of cataract surgery to my mum’s left eye (master eye). My mum was slightly nervous but still, she was 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” 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 walked out of the operating theatre on her own. 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 and removed it once she reached home.

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.

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