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Most common questions about LASIK

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If you are a glasses wearer, you would be all too familiar with all the inconveniences and struggles. Having your spectacles fogging up from sipping a hot cup of joe, eating from a bowl of hot soup, walking out of an aircon room are just the tip of the iceberg. Furthermore, a new challenge has surfaced in the year 2020 – glasses misting up more frequently from wearing a mask.

Of course, in this day and age, you can always choose to turn to contact lenses to free yourself from cumbersome pairs of glasses. But don’t you agree that wearing contact lenses can be a daily hassle? If you’ve had your fair share of those experiences, have you ever considered LASIK to correct your vision permanently? Read on for the 14 FAQs about this life-transforming procedure!

1. What is LASIK?

LASIK a type of refractive eye surgery in which the cornea – the transparent “window of the eye” – is sculpted using high-tech lasers to improve your vision. It works by cutting a thin corneal flap out of the cornea using a femtosecond laser. A second laser (the excimer laser) is used to reshape the middle part of the cornea, which is known as the cornea stroma layer. After vision correction is completed, the flap is laid back in place. The newly-sculpted cornea allows light rays to focus directly on your eye retina, giving you a crystal-clear vision.

Also read: 12 best eye clinics to do LASIK in Singapore

2. Is LASIK safe? What are its possible side effects?

Done by an experienced surgeon and with the help of modern technology, LASIK is considered to be safe if it is done properly. However, it is important to note that even though the risk of complications from LASIK surgery are low can be kept to minimal as long as you keep your eye clean and use the prescribed eye drops regularly, there are patients who experience side effects after the surgery.

Some of the possible side effects include halos and glares, especially during the first few days during the recovery process. [1] A minority of patients may find it challenging to see clearly in the dark, affecting some day-to-day activities like driving at night. Another side effect is dryness, which will be worse for patients who previously have had dry eyes. In the long-term, one of the possible side effects of LASIK is a cornea thinning syndrome, which is known called corneal ectasia. [1] This risk can be minimised or even avoided if the eye surgeon keeps to the cornea thickness to a certain level.

Therefore, we can’t stress enough the importance of getting your surgery done by an experienced surgeon in a reputable clinic! After all, these are your eyes we are talking about!

3. Is the result of LASIK surgery permanent?

Your LASIK surgery should give you good vision fairly permanently – until presbyopia (old age reading difficulties) sets in. However, it is possible to experience a bit of regression if you subject your eyes to too much prolonged eye strain. A regression in eye power of 50 to 150 degrees is not uncommon in today’s day and age, where we constantly engage in so much near vision work. But fret not – if you have had high myopia (above 500 degrees) and underwent LASIK, your eye degree will not bounce back to the high power it was before as your cornea curvature has already been reshaped permanently Do take care of your eyes and maintain good eye health to prolong the results of your LASIK surgery.

4. How is LASIK performed?

If you are wincing at the thought of injections, don’t worry, the anaesthesia used in LASIK comes in the form of eyedrops. This is applied so that you will not have to worry about any pain during the surgery. After your eye loses sensation, a suction ring will be applied to hold your eyes steady throughout the procedure. The surgery will then begin and all you are left to do is to focus on the laser light in front of you.

The first step of LASIK surgery is cutting a thin layer of corneal “flap” using the first type of laser (the femtosecond laser). The cornea flap will then be lifted, and a second laser (an excimer laser) will be used to correct your vision. The final phase is the finishing touch. In this phase, the surgeon will re-lay the flap to its original position and that marks the end of the surgery. After which, you can’t help but to exclaim a “WOW” at the pristinely clear vision almost immediately.

5. How much does it cost to have LASIK surgery in Singapore?

Do your due diligence and find out about the cost of LASIK surgery in Singapore across the various clinics. In general, you can expect to fork out around SGD$3,500 – $4,500 to have LASIK done in Singapore. Do check with your clinic the breakdown of the procedure cost. There are some clinics that even include the follow-up charges in their LASIK pricing!

Also read: Lasik prices in Singapore – get the full scoop of your Lasik bill before you go for it.

6. Does insurance cover LASIK?

In Singapore, very unlikely. LASIK is widely considered as cosmetic in nature – which is not claimable using both Medisave and Insurance. So if you are calculating your budget, don’t plan on relying on your Medisave or insurance coverage. Instead, you can ask your clinics if they have referral discounts, in-house promo pricing  and 0% instalment plans to defray the cost of the surgery. 

7. Is LASIK the only type of laser vision correction procedure?

Although LASIK arguably is the procedure that made laser vision correction popular, we certainly can’t discount the other options! Other alternatives include Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) procedures (such as Epi-LASIK and TransPRK) and ReLEx SMILE. Each procedure has its own set of pros and cons and they serve different groups of people.

Also read: LASIK vs TransPRK: Which procedure is the best for me?

LASIK is a versatile, all-rounded technique which shines mainly because of its speedy recovery rate and involves little or no discomfort. ReLEx SMILE is a great alternative for those who are looking for the latest procedure in the market and one which has less risk of dry eyes as compared to LASIK. [2] ASA procedures are recommended for sportspeople, individuals with higher degree and/or thinner cornea and those who don’t want to be at risk of flap complications.

Also read: Perfect eyesight without LASIK? It’s possible and it’s (joyously) called ReLEx SMILE

It is important to note that if you have farsightedness, the ReLEx SMILE currently is not suitable for your eye condition. [3]

8. Is everyone suitable for LASIK surgery done?

Speaking offhand, you have to be at least 18 years old before you can even consider LASIK. If your eyesight has not stabilized, then perhaps you should wait a few more years before considering this vision correction procedure. Are you pregnant or breastfeeding? If yes, it will be better to wait as well as the pregnant hormones may cause your vision to fluctuate.

On top of that, you have to be generally healthy; meaning you are not suffering from health conditions which affect the body’s recovery ability (e.g. diabetes, cancer, etc). When in doubt, always check with your doctor.

9. My eye degree is quite high. Will I be able to go for LASIK?

Your eye doctor can only determine this upon an eye examination. For now, what you should understand is that the maximum amount of degree that can be corrected is limited by your cornea tissue thickness. If your cornea is thick, then the amount of degree that can be corrected is higher.

How high is the degree that can be corrected by LASIK? [4]

  •         -11.00 D of nearsightedness (myopia)
  •         +5.00 D of farsightedness (hyperopia/ presbyopia)
  •         5.00 D of astigmatism

What happens if your degree is higher than these? Firstly, you have to remember that this is only a rough guideline, as a large part will depend on your cornea thickness. However, if you are really unsuitable for LASIK, your doctor may then suggest that you undergo the Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) vision correction instead. This is a different procedure altogether which involves inserting an artificial lens into your eyes to help you regain long-term visual freedom.

10. If I have a previous incidence of eye disease (e.g. eye infection/ cornea scarring) and dry eyes, will I be suitable for LASIK?

Your suitability for LASIK will depend on case-by-case basis. If your previous eye infection/ cornea scarring was not severe and had resolved nicely, there is a chance that LASIK may be performed. [5]

LASIK involves cutting of a corneal flap including nerve endings. In some cases, LASIK can cause dry eyes. This is why having dry eyes is often a contraindication of LASIK. [2] Other types of vision corrections (e.g. ASA procedures or ReLEx SMILE) are usually recommended for patients with severe dry eyes instead. That being said, if you have been diagnosed with dry eyes, it does not mean that you are 100% unsuitable for LASIK. If your condition is not severe, there is still a chance so you should always seek your doctor’s opinion first.

11. Should I get LASIK done?

LASIK can help you to live out your dream life – without having to depend on your glasses or contact lenses on a regular basis.

The types of refractive errors which can be corrected by LASIK are myopia (near-sightedness), astigmatism (uneven focus), hyperopia (far-sightedness) and presbyopia (age-related far-sightedness). [4] All these conditions cause blurry, less-than-ideal vision. Want to enjoy getting out of the bed with perfect vision? Then perhaps LASIK is the perfect solution for you!

12. How to prepare for my LASIK surgery?

If you usually wear contact lenses, you will need to stop wearing them for awhile, around 3 days for soft lenses or at least 10 days for hard lenses.

On surgery day, don’t drive to the clinic; have someone drive you there and take you home. Go to the clinic with a clean face, meaning no make-up at all. Not even your skincare and facial products, or even perfumes and colognes. It will probably be a good idea to sleep early the night beforehand and avoid drinking alcohol prior to surgery, or consume anything that might make you sleepy (for example: medicine that causes drowsiness). [6]

13. How long should I rest after the LASIK surgery?

Your vision will need at least 1 – 3 days to recover. This does not mean full recovery, but enough for you to see and function in your daily routines. Medical Certificate (MC) will be given to cover this period for you to rest and recover.

You will be able to to go back to work in 3 to 5 days. However, if the nature of your job requires you to engage in strenuous physical activities, such as running, lifting or operating heavy objects, working in dusty places, do consider a longer rest period. Talk to your eye surgeon about this and follow his advice. Safety first!

14. Will I be able to exercise normally after LASIK?

Eventually yes, but not immediately. This will depend on a variety of factors, such as the recovery of your eyes and also the type of sports you want to engage in. After a few days of rest, you might be able to do light exercises, the ones that don’t require contact and heavy physical load. [7]

If you are into swimming, diving or other water-related activities (for example, jacuzzi or sauna), you may need to avoid these activities for around one month to avoid post-surgical infections. [7]

Contact sports are not encouraged especially during at least the first month after surgery. Basically avoid any kind of sports that has the possibility of something coming in contact with your eyes. After this period, you can proceed with contact sports but with caution as a hit in the eye will always pose a risk of flap related complications.

If you are into active contact sports, you might consider doing other types of laser vision correction that does not create corneal flap such as TransPRK.

You can read more about TransPRK here: A personal anecdote of my TransPRK experience – the good and the bad

Final thoughts: Ready to leave your glasses and contact lenses – for good?

Be proactive and ask friends and family about their experience if they have done LASIK surgery. Read articles and educate yourself. Know the benefits, risks, process and recovery. Any kind of surgery is no small decision, so make sure you do a proper weigh-in of the pros and cons before making a decision to do the surgery.

Also read: Guide to LASIK in Singapore: Ready to say goodbye to myopia for good?

Whenever you’re in doubt, consult your eye surgeon as he will be your main guide throughout the whole process – from your pre-op concerns, surgery day to post-op care.


[1] Rabin, Roni Caryn (2020). Blurred Vision, Burning Eyes: This Is a Lasik Success?, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/well/lasik-complications-vision.html.

[2] Laservue Eye Centre (2017). SMILE, LASIK or PRK Surgery: Which is Best?, from https://www.laservue.com/smile/smile-lasik-or-prk-which-is-best/

[3] SMILE by Shroff eye. FAQ’s on Relex Smile laser eye surgery, from http://www.smilerelex.com/faqs-on-relex-smile-laser-eye-surgery.html

[4] Thompson, Vance (2018). Does My Eyeglass Prescription Qualify For LASIK?, from https://www.allaboutvision.com/visionsurgery/faq-prescription.htm

[5] Salz J. J. Can I have LASIK surgery if I have had corneal ulcers?, from https://www.sharecare.com/health/eye-vision-health/can-lasik-surgery-corneal-ulcers

[6] The LASIK Vision Institute (2020). Preparing for Vision Correction Surgery, from https://www.lasikvisioninstitute.com/preparing-for-vision-correction-surgery/.

[7] MedicineNet (2007). LASIK Eye Surgery, from https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=83884.

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