A cataract is a condition that affects the eye. Failure to treat this condition can lead to permanent blindness. Among Singaporeans, individuals with Malay blood have a greater tendency of developing this condition as compared to Chinese and Indian races. The risk of getting cataracts increases when a person reaches the age of 40.
Because there are more elderly people in Singapore nowadays, cataract surgery is one of the most performed operations done to the eyes. Giving accurate information on cataract surgery cost in Singapore is the main goal of this article provided by Asia Retina. If you need further details about this condition and how to be financially capable of funding surgery for yourself or a loved one, be sure to finish this post.
Nature of cataracts
Cataracts are identified by a cloudy formation of proteins that fuse together and settle in the eye’s translucent lens. This greatly affects the vision and can post challenges in discerning colours as well as the eye’s ability to perceive contrast. Having cataracts can definitely have negative impacts on a person’s quality of life.
Causes of cataracts
Ageing is the most common cause of cataracts. However, there are other factors that can contribute to its development. These are:
- Alcohol consumption
- Extensive exposure to UV rays
- Inflammation in the eye
- Myopia (high degree)
- Prolonged use of steroids (oral, nasal, steroid eye drops)
Types of cataracts
There are three types of cataracts:
- Cortical cataract – found on the cortex; can cause glare sensitivities
- Nuclear cataract – most common among the three types of cataract; generally caused by ageing; results in slow vision loss
- Posterior subcapsular cataract – the back of the eye’s lens becomes cloudy; caused by extended steroids use
Symptoms of cataracts
Cataracts can exhibit different signs; however, its early stages do not usually manifest any symptom. If present, the symptoms are few. The symptoms of cataracts continue to progress over time. Failure to manage these can lead to the eyesight’s slow decline. Below are symptoms that you should look out for:
- The appearance of a brown or yellow shade in your vision
- Blurred vision
- Cloudy or hazy vision
- Fading colours
- Regular changes with the prescription of your spectacles
- Seeing double
- Sensitivity to bright lights or glare that can leave halo-like effects to the vision
- Vision challenges, especially at night
If a few of these symptoms are present, it is best to get a doctor’s consultation and submit your eyes to comprehensive tests in order to check for cataracts.
Tests to diagnose cataracts
There are several tests that can be done to get an accurate diagnosis of cataracts. The tests are:
- Pupil dilation
- Retinal exam
- Slit-lamp exam
- Visual acuity test
Among the four, the slit lamp exam is used to verify if there are indeed cataracts present in your eye/s.
Treatments for cataracts
Cataracts can be treated and the eye’s vision improved with surgery. Not all people fancy an operation and that is understandable. Cataracts, although an irreversible condition, can be slowed down in its tracks. For those who do not want to undergo surgery, there are things that you can do to prevent the condition from continuing its development at a faster rate. This can be applied to patients whose cataracts have been diagnosed at an earlier stage.
To manage your eye condition, do the following:
- Avoid smoking
- Change of diet
- Lessen alcohol consumption
- Visit your eye doctor regularly
- Use proper eye protection, like hats and caps that shield the eyes from the sun, and sunglasses with UV protection.
Food that can help manage cataracts
Food can also serve as medicine. Loaded with vitamins and nutrients, the following foods have been found beneficial for delaying the progression of cataracts:
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Foods rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes
- Foods rich in Vitamin E, such as safflower, sunflower oil, wheat germ, nuts
- Omega-3 rich foods, such as fish
Types of surgery for cataracts
There are three types of cataracts surgery in Singapore. These are:
- Extracapsular Cataract Extraction (ECCE) – used to extract cataracts that are hard and thick
- Laser-assisted cataract surgery – minimally invasive procedure that uses laser technology similar to LASIK in order to remove the cataract
- Micro-incision phacoemulsification surgery – uses ultrasound energy to dissolve the cataract in the eye’s lens before being removed through a tiny incision.
Cost of surgery for cataracts in Singapore
The cost of surgery for cataracts in Singapore is influenced by different factors. A major factor that can show a great disparity between costs is the facility where your surgery is performed and whether you qualify for a government subsidy or not.
Cataract surgeries done in public hospitals with government subsidy can expect to pay around $1,200 to $1,300 for one eye. Without government subsidy, the cost increases to $4,000 to $5,500 for an eye.
Cataract surgeries done in private hospitals are much more expensive, ranging from $4,500 to a maximum of $10,000 for each eye. Inclusions are:
- Cataract assessment
- Cataract surgery for one eye
- Medications following the surgery
- Review after the surgery
Use of Medisave for cataract surgery
Claims can be submitted to the Ministry of Health if you have a Medisave account. The maximum reimbursable amount is $2,450 per eye. Do note that the amount requested for claims is still subject for approval of the MOH. Aside from Medisave, you can also check your insurance provider if cataract surgery is covered by your insurance plan.
Asia Retina – Eye Specialist in Singapore
#15-10 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd,
+65 6732 0007