My mum has been a 900-degrees soft contact lens wearer for the last 38 years, thanks to mild astigmatism, severe myopia and presbyopia (Lao Hua).
After years of squinting and buying multiple pairs of spectacles, she finally got a permanent solution to have her eyes fixed at Dr Natasha Lim Eye Centre (where I did my Lasik surgery).
While her initial plan was to opt for Lasik surgery, Dr Natasha advised against it as the procedure is only suitable for people without cataracts. Instead, she recommended Cataract Surgery and Lens Replacement.
Using a customised Toric Mono-focal lens implant, it could correct her myopia, astigmatism and presbyopia (Lao Hua) and make her spectacle-free.
In order to understand my mum’s visual requirements, Dr Natasha asked about my mum’s lifestyle, her occupation and interests/hobbies.
Then, she tailored the surgery to suit her daily work routine.
For example, the lens in her left eye aka (‘master’ eye) had to be for long distance, so she wouldn’t take the wrong bus and end up in Jurong, while her right eye (‘non-master’ eye) had to be meant for reading.
How The Surgery Would Be
They explained they’d be performing a stitch-less, micro-incision cataract surgery that promises immediate recovery of vision just four hours post-op.
Within 15 minutes, my mum would be free to go and would be able to make her own way home on public transport.
The cataract inside my mum’s eye would be then sucked out using an ultrasound vacuum probe that’s only 2 mm in size.
Through the same 2 mm micro-incision, an acrylic, foldable mono-focal lens implant would pass through and into the eye to replace the cataract lens. This mono-focal lens implant is of the highest–definition (HD) index to enable HD vision post-op.
In addition, it would correct my mum’s myopia, astigmatism and presbyopia.
She’d be (finally!) spectacle-free as her ‘glasses’ would’ve been implanted in her eye permanently.
3 Days Before First Cataract Operation on Left Eye
3 days pre-op: My mum had to stop using contact lenses so her vision could return to its most accurate degree. She underwent some basic health checks: ECG (heart tracing), blood pressure and urine test at Dr Natasha’s clinic. They took detailed measurements of her eyes to order the correct lens implant powers for her surgery to take place three days later.
1-day pre-op: She had to use 1 drop of ‘Zymar’ antibiotics four times a day to “prepare” the eye by killing germs.
6 hours pre-op: Fasting begins! The surgery was split into two consecutive days, one eye at a time.
Cataract Surgery on the First Eye
On the day of cataract surgery to my mum’s left eye (master eye), my mum was slightly nervous but motivated to go on.
Once she slipped into her operation gown and wore her cap, a team of nurses assisted her into the operating room. It helped that Dr Lim and team were confident and assuring so my mum didn’t freak out. They cleaned her entire face and eye and then draped her whole body with a cover.
According to her, the operation required her to stare into “colourful lights”. There was also an automated voice from a machine sharing instructions to the team.
The cataract operation took around 20 minutes and required no sedation at all.
Once the procedure was complete, she waited for the counter nurse to pack her post-op eye medication, while other nurses offered her milo and biscuits. She wore a clear plastic eye cover and removed it once she reached home.
Thankfully, a nurse at the clinic had calmly told her to expect her post-op eye to look slightly “strange” for a few hours and even drew it on a piece of paper. The dilating drops used during the procedure also made her vision slightly blur.
It normalised after four to five hours post-op and when my mum peered into her reflection she said, “Heng ah! I don’t look like a zombie. Phew.”
The procedure for her right eye continued the next day.
Cover illustration by Brunna Mancuso