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Ophthalmology in Singapore: how does it work?

29 Nov 2017

The rate of short-sightedness and long-sightedness have rapidly increased over the last 30 years. Around half of young adults in the United States and Europe are currently short-sighted. It is twice as much as the prevalence of half a century ago. In Seoul, 96.5% (!) of 19-year-old men are short-sighted. And that is not going to stop. Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a worldwide short-sightedness (also known as myopia) incidence of 23%, projected to increase to 50% by 2050.


How to ensure a good eye health?


An eye test can confirm whether you’re long or short-sighted, and you can be given a prescription for glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision. Eye screening can also determined other eye diseases, such as a cataract or a glaucoma. Some eye diseases such as glaucoma have no symptoms in their early stages, so you may not know you have a problem till the disease is in its later stage. This can make treatment more difficult and the problem harder to manage. Thus, regular eye examinations are essential for early diagnosis and treatment of any problems that may appear.


Importance of regular eye screening

During your eye examination, the eye doctor will usually conduct a basic eye examination which consists of an external check of your eyes, the eyelids and the surrounding areas. Parts of the eye, such as the conjunctiva, sclera, cornea and iris, will also be inspected for signs of disease.


Moreover, eye screenings normally include:


Your eye health can change very quickly – especially for children, teenagers and adults aged 40 and above. If it is the case, do not hesitate to consult a specialist as soon as you feel an eye change (vision changes or pain, flashes or floaters, distorted lines, dry eyes …). The Singapore National Eye Centre is the country’s leading provider regarding ophthalmology. An outpatient consultation in the Singapore National Eye Centre cost from 95 SGD to 123 SGD.


Doctors advise an eye screening every one or two years for children and teenagers. Concerning children, KK Eye Centre is the only dedicated paediatric eye clinic within a children’s hospital in Singapore. Thanks to their experiences in pediatrics, the KK Eye Centre offers a great value in caring for children.

Note also that people diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of eye disease like glaucoma, or people who are taking prescription medications with affect the eyes are considered as people with risk factors. If you have a risk factor, you should see your ophthalmologist more frequently.  


Vision testing

In Singapore, you can – most of the time – test your vision directly in an optician’s shop. Indeed, an Optometrist can prescribe optical appliances.

Optometrists are eye care practitioners who provide a wide range of primary eye care services, including visual examinations, and prescription of optical appliances to correct vision problems. Optometrists also diagnose vision problems and eye diseases and will refer you to an Ophthalmologist for further treatment where necessary.

A vision test performed by an optometrist costs on average 60 SGD.


Surgery charges (cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery and LASIK for myopia)

Here are the average prices for the most common eye surgeries.

Cataract surgery with lens implant (simple, single eye)

 Public HospitalsPrivate Hospitals
Total Operation Fees (Low)2,800 SGD3,577 SGD
Total Operation Fees (Middle)2,974 SGD4,861 SGD
Total Operation Fees (High)3,469 SGD5,931 SGD
Low: One in four patients pay less than this amount.
Middle: Half of all patients pay less than this amount.
High: One in four patients pay more than this amount.


Glaucoma laser surgery (single eye)

 Public HospitalsPrivate Hospitals
Total Operation Fees (Low)912 SGD2,183 SGD
Total Operation Fees (Middle)912 SGD2,263 SGD
Total Operation Fees (High)954 SGD2,270 SGD
Low: One in four patients pay less than this amount.
Middle: Half of all patients pay less than this amount.
High: One in four patients pay more than this amount.


Myopia treatment (including LASIK)

 Public HospitalsPrivate Hospitals
Total Operation Fees (Low)1,461 SGDn/a
Total Operation Fees (Middle)1,766 SGDn/a
Total Operation Fees (High)1,899 SGDn/a
Low: One in four patients pay less than this amount.
Middle: Half of all patients pay less than this amount.
High: One in four patients pay more than this amount.



To find out more about healthcare topics in Singapore you can check our articles. To understand, how your health insurance plans cover healthcare costs, you can approach UEX‘s happiness team by email or by phone for more information and guidance – and the good news is that they are super nice!

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