Visiting any kind of doctor for the first time can be intimidating. Some people actually put off medical consultations because they are unsure where to start. For people with eye problems or conditions, this can bring a negative impact on the health of their eyes. The eyes are very complicated and at the same time fragile organs that can need urgent care and treatment, especially when the disease that affects it can result in fatal consequences, such as loss of vision.
For any concern relating to the anatomy, functions, and diseases of the eye, patients should see an ophthalmologist. There are two other professions that also provide eye care, but this article will only focus on ophthalmologists in Singapore.
There is not a lot of available detailed information about ophthalmologists in Singapore. This post gives us a look at what ophthalmologists do to provide eye care treatments for patients and tips when preparing for your visit.
When to see an Ophthalmologist in Singapore
As mentioned above, there are two other eye care providers in Singapore (optometrists and opticians). It is important that you do not get confused about where to get your eyes checked. You should see an ophthalmologist for medical conditions, diseases, and emergencies that affect the eyes. Ophthalmologists like those at Asia Retina are licensed to perform treatments and surgeries with specific specializations.
Individuals with a family history of eye conditions should get regular a regular appointment with an ophthalmologist. Likewise, adults that are over 40 should get their eyes assessed as this is usually the age when certain eye conditions start to act up. Patients that have been diagnosed with diabetes should also routinely visit an ophthalmologist as this disease can seriously affect the health of the eyes.
It is also advised that a visit to an eye doctor is done annually at least once in order to keep the eyes’ health in check. Specialist eye surgery centres like the aforementioned Asia Retina located at #15-10 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238859 also offer regular check-up services. Scheduling an appointment prior to your visit is always a good idea, you can do so at +65 6732 0007.
Ophthalmologist visits for children
Eye conditions in children may not be easily detected by normal persons. It is important that children have their eyes screened by an ophthalmologist at age 3 and 5 as symptoms for the following conditions may be present:
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Ptosis (upper eyelid drooping)
- Refractive errors (astigmatism, farsighted and nearsightedness)
- Strabismus (crossed eyes)
Eye conditions that can affect adolescents and adults
Even when the eyes are healthy from childhood up to the age of 20, it does not mean that they are no longer exposed to the dangers of contracting a disease. The eyes’ health also begins to decline as get older. Overworked eyes are highly prone to develop conditions that can affect the vision. Schedule a visit with your ophthalmologist when the following symptoms become present:
- Changes in vision
- Burning feeling and eye irritation
- Extreme dryness of eyes
- Seeing images distorted by wavy lines
- Seeing eye floaters
- Also Seeing flashes of light
- Spots or blurred areas in the vision
For adults that are already advanced in years (over 60 years of age), it is recommended that they undergo comprehensive eye exams to test for eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Ophthalmologist in Public Hospitals vs. Private Clinics
Ophthalmologists in Singapore do their practice either privately in their own clinics or in public hospitals. Choosing where to go has its pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of Private Clinics
- Patients can choose their own preferred doctor
- Patients can see the same doctor during their follow-up visits
- Waiting time is not a problem
- Patients can directly book their consultation without needing any referral.
- Costs much higher than public hospitals under subsidy
Pros and Cons of Public Hospitals
Pros of Subsidized Practice:
- Costs cheapest among the 3 options when seeing an eye doctor due to government subsidy
Cons of Subsidized Practice:
- Patients go through a series of steps and require recommendations from polyclinics before being able to book a consultation with an eye doctor in public hospitals
- Waiting time for a consultation can take up to 3 months
- Patients are not able to choose their own preferred doctors.
- No guarantee that the same doctor will attend to the patient in the succeeding checkups.
Pros of Non-subsidised Practice
- Patients can choose their own doctor for their treatment.
- Patients are guaranteed that the same doctor will attend to them in the next visits.
Cons of Non-subsidised Practice
- Costs are almost the same as fees charged by doctors in private clinics
- Patients will need a referral from a private GP.
- Waiting time is 1 to 2 months at most.
Preparing for your visit
It is always best to be prepared when going to an ophthalmologist. Here are some tips that you can do:
- If you have symptoms of any condition that affects your vision, be sure that you have someone to accompany you to your doctor.
- Come with a list of questions to ask your doctor. The more information you have regarding your condition, the more you will feel confident about your doctor’s expertise.
- Condition yourself of the possibility of waiting in line for a long time when seeking consultation in a public hospital. Pack a lot of patience.
- Consider bringing a book or listening to music or podcast so you will not get bored during the waiting period.
- Keep a pair of shades in handy. Eye drops can be used on your eyes to dilate them especially if they need to be assessed. This can cause the eyes to be extra sensitive light; hence your pair of shades is much-needed protection once you step out of your doctor’s clinic or the hospital.
- Be sure that you are financially prepared. Expect that there may be on-the-spot expenses aside from doctor’s consultation fees.