Frequently Asked Questions

What happens during surgery?

You will be required to keep your gaze fixed at the blinking fixation green light straight ahead.

How long does the surgery take?

TransPRK takes approximately 5 to 6 minutes per eye, while standard LASIK takes 10 minutes to 15 minutes per eye, about double the time – mostly due to the additional stage of cutting of the cornea flap.

Will I be put to sleep during the surgery?

No, the procedure is done under local anaesthesia via eye drops. The eye drops are instilled just before the surgery and will numb the eyes so that there is no pain felt throughout the procedure.

How many days of medical leave will I be given?

You will be given up to 5 days of MC, including the day of the surgery itself. Many patients report that they see and feel well and are tempted to go back to work early. However, it is advisable not to go back to work the first three days after the operation so as to reduce the risk of infection and to put in the prescribed eye drops at the prescribed intervals for fast and safe recovery.


Must I stop contact lens wear before the surgery?

You should stop soft contact lens wear for at least 2-3 days before coming for the procedure. For hard contact lens wearer, 10 days of cessation is necessary.

Is the procedure painful?

All laser vision correction procedures are done under eye drops anesthesia. In other words, only numbing drops are used. There is no injection given and rest assured that the procedure is painless.

Will I still need to wear glasses after surgery?

Most patients will find that they are able to see clearly without the need
to wear glasses or contact lenses after laser vision correction. But there is no absolute guarantee that you do not need to wear glasses after surgery. For those patients with high powers, sometimes residual power remains that may require glasses to be worn to achieve 6/6 or perfect vision. When glasses need to be worn after surgery, they will be of  reduced power and dependence.

Can I claim medical insurance or Medisave?

Medisave cannot be used to claim for laser vision correction as the procedure falls under the category of a “cosmetic” operation.

What is the difference between "cut-flap" LASIK and Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) procedure such as TransPRK?

There are 2 general methods to for laser vision correction – standard LASIK and Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) procedure such as TransPRK. They are both procedures for correcting myopia. In selected cases, it can also be used to correct astigmatism and far-sightedness.

LASIK is also known as the flap-and-zap method. During LASIK, a cut is made across the cornea such that a flap is created. The flap is then lifted, and laser correction will be applied to the underlying cornea tissue. After which, the flap is closed back without any form of stitches.

TransPRK on the other hand, is an Advanced Surface Ablation procedure where no cut is made to the cornea. During surgery, the uppermost surface layer of cells – also known as the epithelium layer – is removed using laser. Laser correction is then applied to the underlying cornea.

As the epithelium cells have regenerative properties, these cells will grow back on its own in 3-5 days. In this way, corneal tissue loss and nerve damage can be better preserved.

How do I evaluate and pick a good eye surgeon?

An experienced & capable surgeon will keep surgical complications in check. Furthermore, reduced time taken during surgery done by an experienced surgeon will result in more accurate results. As such, you may want to make sure the surgeon is experienced in laser refractive procedures and is board certified. You may also want to check if he has a good reputation in the community, and if he is committed to his patients before, during and after the surgery.

What are some of the things I should take note of post-surgery?

  • You should rest at home and maintain good hygiene. Do not touch your eyes and eyelids with dirty hands or apply the prescribed eye drops without first washing your hands clean. Avoid crowded and dirty places and take care to ensure that dirty water from washing your face or hair do not get into your eyes. You should also refrain from rubbing your eyes for the first five days post-surgery. At the first sign of severe pain, redness of the eyes or abnormal eye discharges, you should contact your eye doctor immediately to get it checked.

What is the minimum age and oldest age suitable for laser vision correction?

Most surgeons will set it as 18 years and above. Some will set it as 16 years and above but the eye power should also have been stable for the past two years. Parents’ consent will also be needed for the younger patients. There is no oldest age limit but those over 60 years of age frequently have cataracts developing and would be better served by a cataract operation.

Is there a minimum and maximum safe power to go for the surgery?

  • There is no minimum power i.e. people with 100 degrees of myopia can still go for refractive surgery. The maximum power for safe myopia correction is usually limited to 1,200 For astigmatism, we usually do not treat patients with more than 400 degrees of astigmatism. For hyperopia of more than 300 degrees or for those suffering from more than 1,200 degrees of myopia, lens implant (ICL surgery) is the more suitable option.

When can I go for enhancement surgery?

Enhancement surgery may be recommended for some patients who have significant amounts of residual eye power six months or more after the initial procedure. However, this depends on whether there is enough cornea tissue thickness to allow safe enhancement. For ReLEx SMILE patients, enhancement is possible only through a different technique i.e. Advanced Surface Ablation methods such as TransPRK. For LASIK patients who need enhancements, if the residual cornea thickness beneath the flap is too thin, Advanced Surface Ablation methods such as TransPRK can be done on the flap surface.

Should I do both eyes together or one eye at a time?

When laser vision correction first started, the industry standard was to do one eye at a time. However with modern technology and technique, it is acceptable and safe to go for bilateral laser vision correction. Today, most patients will opt to do the surgery on both eyes at the same time for convenience in terms of taking medical leave and having to go through the discomfort of the recovery process twice. Furthermore, if patients opt to do one eye at a time, they will experience the discomfort and disruption of having imbalance vision during the interim period between the first and the second eye.

How do I know if I am suitable for epiLASIK or TransPRK?

You will need to go through an in-depth evaluation, where the optometrists and eye doctor will check your eyes thoroughly. In general, these are some of the factors that determines your suitability: (1) cornea shape (2) cornea thickness (3) any existing eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, etc. The maximum power for safe correction is usually limited to 1,200 degrees.

If I am suitable for both LASIK and TransPRK, which procedure is best for me?

You may want to opt for TransPRK over LASIK if:

  • You do not want to cut a cornea flap
  • You do not want to suffer from flap related complications such as flap infection, inflammation and flap dislodgement or flap wrinkles
  • You do not want to worry about suffering from dry eyes after LASIK as the cornea nerves are not cut
  • You have an active lifestyle and participate in contact and rugged sports such soccer, rugby, water skiing, competitive basketball or martial arts where the risk of traumatic cornea flap damage is higher
  • You want to better preserve precious cornea tissue for possible upgrade surgeries in future as your eyes age naturally (such as future “lao hua” or presbyopia surgery)

I am over 40 years old and suffer from presbyopia (“lao hua”). Can I still go for the op?

Yes. The most common strategy for those who have presbyopia is to aim for close to perfect vision in the dominant eye (usually the right eye) and deliberately aim for some under-correction in the other eye.

What are the risks and complications of LASIK, epiLASIK and TransPRK?

Modern laser vision correction is safe and problem-free in the vast majority of cases. However, there is no such thing as risk-free surgery. The surgery will have the risk of complications such as infections, inflammation, acute dry eye, under/over correction, glare, halos and starbursts. Such conditions, however, do not occur often. Nevertheless, to ensure a smooth recovery, patients should also do their parts by following the doctor’s post-surgery instructions diligently.

For LASIK, because there is a cut made across the cornea, LASIK has the additional risk of flap complications. These include: flap infection, flap inflammation, risk of flap dislodgement caused by rubbing or a finger poke or sports injury. Another complication resulting from a cut flap is acute and chronic dry eye because of the thousands of tiny cornea nerve endings are being severed in the process of cutting the cornea flap.

Can I go blind?

In theory yes, but in practical reality, very unlikely.

Can I go for laser vision correction if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

The procedure is contra-indicated in pregnancy. Women who are breastfeeding should not go for the procedure unless the baby is over eighteen months of age where the risk of eye drops medications affecting the child is low. But if you want to be completely safe, go for the surgery only after you have stopped breastfeeding your child.

Can I wear soft contact lenses after the procedure?

Yes, soft contact lenses, including cosmetic lenses can still be worn but only after three months. Hard lenses cannot be worn as they tend to slip due to the altered cornea curvatures.

Will going for laser vision correction make future eye surgery such as cataract surgery more difficult?

No, as the entry wound for cataract surgery is at a different part of the eye. But your eye surgeon will need to factor in the new cornea curvature when he does the calculation and selection of the intra-ocular lens implant for the cataract surgery.