If there’s one thing Singaporeans can agree on without trying to out-troll each other on the Internet, it’s that all of us have poor eyesight.
Singapore has some of the highest levels of myopia on earth. Whatever the reasons – kiasu parents, lack of wide open spaces, computer addiction, lack of sunlight, bad genes etc. – the sad fact is that most of us are secretly blind as a bat. If I put my black framed glasses down on my dark coloured bed spread it takes me two hours to find them again.
Just as telling your friends you’re going for a nose job is no big deal in Korea, announcing that you’re about to get your corneas sliced open elicits nary a blink from most Singaporeans.
You’ve probably realised that LASIK surgery is much cheaper today than it use to be. However, before you start aggressively comparing prices, here are some things to take note of that can save not only your money but also your vision.
1. Consider paying for a better laser
Most people are very preoccupied with finding a competent doctor, and obviously that’s a valid concern because you don’t really want to pick someone who’s going to go “oops!” during your procedure.
But what many people don’t realise is that the equipment used plays a huge part in the success of your procedure. Compared to something highly labour-intensive like heart surgery, the doctors themselves don’t do that much when it comes to LASIK, but the machines do.
If you’ve gone to one of those LASIK information sessions, you’ll know there are many types of procedures and many types of machine.
While the procedure you’ll eventually opt for depends to a great degree on what’s most suitable for your eyes, when given the choice of more than one type of laser, opting for the more advanced one could well make a difference.
2. Try to get a discount
While obviously nobody wants to get overcharged, you can’t really use the same bargaining tactics you use at the wet market when trying to get a lower price for LASIK. But that doesn’t mean there’s no way to ease the financial burden a little.
Many of the bigger clinics organise info sessions for people considering getting LASIK, and vouchers are usually handed out at these events that entitle you to a discount.
For this reason, before you fix an appointment at a particular clinic, ask if they are holding an info session anytime soon.
Another way to cut costs is to take advantage of referral discounts, which some clinics bestow upon those who are referred by friends.
3. Do a cost-benefit analysis
While it’s true that LASIK is much cheaper than it was before, you won’t exactly be breezily saying, “keep the change” at the end of it either.
And as much as you might dream of waking up in the morning with razor sharp vision, LASIK is probably not something you need to have, so do your sums well.
Doing both eyes will cost you at least $2,500, and you will also need to factor in the cost of a first consultation, which is usually around $100, followed by several post-procedure check ups.
It doesn’t stop there, though. If your eyesight deteriorates after LASIK (more common than most people think), you will need to either get it surgically corrected again or resort to glasses or contact lenses, which often need to be custom-made to fit the altered shape of your eyes.
On the other hand, if you currently wear glasses or contacts, assuming your LASIK surgery goes perfectly and your eyesight needs no correction for some time afterwards, you will save on the cost of glasses, contact lenses and contact lens solution.
The first thing on most people’s minds when considering whether or not go for LASIK is whether it will hurt, and whether you can go blind.
There’s actually a lot more you need to think about, including certain side effects or risks that your doctor might only mention in passing.
For example, did you know when doctors check your vision after the procedure they only care about what you can see when it’s bright? That means your night vision might actually not improve as much.
Factors like this need to be borne in mind when you’re trying to work out whether you want to spend that $x,000.
4. Beware of the hard sell
People tend to forget that doctors are also business people. And while they do have a code of ethics to adhere to, there is a grey area within which they’re not committing an offence, but are also not giving you entirely unbiased advice.
This means that if your doctor tells you the procedure should be fine even if your corneas are a bit thin, it may not necessarily be untrue—but that doesn’t mean you won’t be running a higher risk.
Be even more wary if you don’t initially get to deal with the doctors directly but with other staff or even salespeople, which believe it or not isn’t unheard of.
In doubt, don’t hesitate to go for a consultation at another clinic for a second opinion.
5. Research LASIK prices in Singapore
There was a time when LASIK used to cost upwards of $10,000, but those days are dead and gone. These days, a whole bunch of clinics are offering to do both your eyes for less than $4,000.
While we wouldn’t advise you to pick a clinic based totally on price, what the heck. Here are some of the more affordable (and reputable) LASIK clinics we found. Considering how saturated the market is these days, you should be able to find more.
|LSC Eye Clinic||$3,294|
|Shinagawa Eye Centre||$3,388 to $3,888|
|Eye Clinic Singapore International||$2,850|
|Lang Eye Centre||$2,970 to $4,682|
|Eagle Eye Centre||From $3,450 (+ evaluation from $135)|
For a more in-depth comparison, see this article on LASIK procedure prices in Singapore.
While the benefits of LASIK are obvious, especially if you can’t even recognise your own face in the mirror without your glasses or contacts on, don’t think of it as some kind of magic solution to all your problems in life.
Many of your friends who have had LASIK done will tell you how much better their lives are now, but now and then you do meet someone who says he regrets it.
Have you undergone a LASIK procedure and do you have any tips? Share with us in the comments!