Cataracts affect 80% of people aged 60 and above in Singapore and is the most common cause of blindness in the world.

As cataracts cause neither pain nor irritation, what can you do to prevent it and spot it in your loved ones?​ ​​What are the symptoms to look out for and does your risk of developing cataracts increase with age or diabetes?

​Dr Mohamad Rosman Bin Othman​, Senior Consultant at the ​General Cataract and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Department​, Sing​​apore National Eye Centre, a member of the SingHealth group, answers ​questions relating to cataracts.


Question by dave

Can I go for cataract surgery even if my cataract is minor?​

I heard that with a new lens, it will also cure my myopia and presbyopia. Sounds like a good deal.Possible ?

Im already almost 60 years old.;

​​​​​Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:

With current technology, we can achieve very good results in cataract surgery. As such, the indications for surgery has shifted from just severity of the cataracts to visual requirements. If your cataract is affecting your vision, such that it affects your daily activities, cataract surgery may be indicated even if your cataract is mild.

Yes, there are intraocular lenses which can correct myopia and presbyopia.


Question by dave

what is the cost of cataract surgery at SNEC?

​​​​​Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:

Here’s the cost for cataract surgery :-

Subsidised rate: S$1,600 per eye

Private rate: S$2,610 – S$4,310 per eye (depends on the seniority of the eye doctor performing the surgery)


Question by catbear

Hi Doctor,

Are there any foods to prevent cataracts? I read from iherb that lutein is good for eyes and so is omega 3. Just wondering if these claims are legit and what I should eat now to prevent cataracts.​ thanks.

​​​​​Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:

Currently, there are no evidence (based on research) to show that certain food or supplements can prevent cataract.

Lutein and omega 3 do not prevent cataract, but they can be beneficial for patients with age related macular degeneration and dry eyes respectively.


Question by student

what are the first signs of cataract? What do I ask my grandfather to check? Thank you

Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:

There several early signs of cataracts. But the most common is a gradual blurring of vision even with the correct spectacle power. If your grandfather notices some blurring of vision, I would advise him to see an optician or optometrist first to determine whether he will need glasses or a change in glasses. If glasses do not help, he will need to eye an ophthalmologist.


Question by ante2

Hi Dr Mohamad, my mum (in her 60s) is showing signs of poorer eyesight. She complains of bad vision at night and sensitivity to light in the day, and her eyes are turning bluish around the pupils. Does she have cataracts?

Im concerned because my granny has cataracts and am afraid I may have it later on when I’m old. As is now sometimes I see floaters. My work is desk-bound and computer-intensive. Hope you can advise what to do for my mum and myself. Thanks.

​​​​​Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​

Your mum’s symptoms may be due to cataracts. However, it is best that she goes for an eye examination to confirm this.

Cataracts is an age-related condition. Therefore, almost everyone will develop cataracts as they grow older. The good news is that cataracts can be treated with surgery and the results of cataract surgery in Singapore are very good.


Question by ctrt48

Hi Dr Rosman, My father had surgery to remove cataracts about 3 months ago. Recently, he has been experiencing stabbing pain and redness in his eyes. He was given eye drops and pain killers during his follow-up visit. Just wondering what could be causing the pain. Even bright light hurts his eyes. Thank you in advance.

​​​​​Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:

The symptoms you father is experiencing is likely to be due to dry eyes. Dry eyes can occur affect cataract surgery and may take time to resolve. Treatment will include the use of lubricating eyedrops to reduce the symptoms.


Question by Kwan12

Hi Dr Rosman,

My father needs cataract surgery. Femtolaser Cataract was recommended by the doctor and I'm worried that this surgery has a one-in-1000 risk of permanent sight loss. Would this be the best surgery option for my father?

Thank you for your advice.

​​​​​Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​

The risks of surgery for Femtolaser cataract surgery or conventional cataract surgery is quite similar. Both have very low risk of permanent sight loss. However, femtolaser cataract surgery may be beneficial in certain types of cataracts. You may want to check with your doctor on why Femtolaser cataract surgery was recommended for your father.


Question by Rachel

My mother in law had a catarct surgery elsewhere. But I think it was not a good job. Can cataract surgery be re-done again?

​Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​

In such cases, we will have to examine her eyes to determine what was done and whether there are any issues with the surgery. I suggest you seek another opinion with regards to her current condition and let the ophthalmologist advise you.​​


Question by Peh Wee Ming

Hi Dr Rosman, 

How do we apply as private patient for cataract surgery and can we choose eye surgeon at snec? ​  

​Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​ 

You can contact our Appointments Department directly at +65 6227 7266 or email ​appointments@snec.com.sg​ to schedule an appointment to see an eye specialist at Singapore National Eye Centre as a private patient. Yes, you can choose your preferred eye surgeon for consultation and surgery.


Question by Lee Wui Nghun

Hi Dr Rosman,

My optician told me I got cataract in my right eye and giving me blur vision. How do I know when should I have to have surery (in terms of vision 10/12 or 8 /12 or 6/12 or what degesss of blurness) . 

Thanks Lee WN

Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​

Due to advancements in cataract surgery, we not do not wait until a patient’s vision is very poor before cataract surgery. We will normally advise cataract surgery if it has affected your vision such that it impairs your day to day activities. In general, most patients with vision of worse than 6/12 will notice that their vision may not be good enough for daily activities.​ ​

Question by Cheng Tan

Hi Dr Mohamad Rosman,

I have been seeing the eye doctor at SNEC since last year and it was confirmed that I had mild cataract on my left eye and more severe cataract on my right eye that required surgery first. I was then given an appointment on the 13th of June this year. However, I wasn't prepared as my myopia was quite high (the power is about 800 for both eyes) and I am very worried. Hence I called up in May to cancel my appointment. An elderly lady I know told me Peperomia pellucida can help to remove cataract. Currently I am trying this out. May I know if I opt for surgery, with my high power, what kind of surgery is recommended and how safe is it? If my left eye is operated, can I still put on spectacle or do I need to wear contact lens since my left eye is not operated yet.

Thank you very much.

Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​

The current gold standard for cataract surgery is phacoemulsification with intraocular lens implantation. It is generally very safe and effective operation. In patients with high myopia in both eyes, but only cataract in one eye (ie in your situation), they will need to use contact lens in the normal eye after cataract surgery in the other eye. Else, you may have difficulty adapting due to the great difference in spectacle power between the two eyes.


Question by Tannh

I am 50 years old and I have cataract on both eyes. The condition on my left eye is more severe than the right one. Previously my shortsighted power are 800 and 600 for left and right respectively. My left vision is not as good as my right eye now. I did an eye check recently and my left eye is at 1300 and right eye at 700 because of cataract.

  1. Will I see better immediately after the cataract surgery?
  2. Within how long should I go for the other eye ops?
  3. What happened to the other eye if i need to wait for the ops? Do I need to have a new pair of glasses while waiting for the ops?
  4. What are the lens used?
  5. Does the type of lens affect the corrected vision?
  6. What are the factors I need to consider or the suggested types for lens?
  7. What are the discomfort after the ops?
  8. What are the things I can’t do after the ops?
  9. How long should I wait to travel after the ops because my current job requires me to travel at short notices?

Thank you for sharing the useful information to us.

Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​

  1. In normal cases, patients should see quite well with a few days after cataract surgery.
  2. Normally, we will perform surgery on the second eye 1 month later. But in some, patients, we can perform the surgery even earlier.
  3. You can wear contact lens on the other eye while waiting of the surgery.
  4. There are monofocal or multifocal intraocular lens options available.
  5. All lenses aim to correct your vision. Monofocal lenses correct distance vision but you will still require reading glasses. Multifocal lenses aim to provide spectacle independence for both distance and near vision.
  6. There are main factors to consider are your eye conditions, ie the state of your cataracts, health of your eye and refractive error, your post surgery expectations and the limitations of the different lenses. It is best to discuss with your doctor in detail about this.
  7. In normal cataract surgery, you will feel some discomfort in the first few days. Most patients will feel like there is something in their eyes and experience some dry eyes in the early stages after surgery.
  8. You cannot swim or do strenuous activities within the first month.
  9. It is best that you wait for your eye to recover before travelling. Ideally, travel should be done after one month.

Question by VI VI

I have been experiencing something like lightning flashes in the corner of my right eye. Is this a sign of cataracts?

Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​

No. This is a not a sign of cataract. This is usually due to degeneration of the jelly within the eyeball (the vitreous) and it is usually due to age. You may want to see an ophthalmologist should it occur together with other symptoms, eg lots of floaters or blurring of vision.


Question by Kaushal

Hi, I would like to know, when I need to go for Cataract surgery and how long I can delay it?

I have a slight cataract as informed my doctor in 2015 and every year thereafter. I would like to avoid it as long as it is possible.

I am 73 years old, use reading glass, have clear near and far vision and do not wear spectacle although I am prescribed one but use sunglass and cap when outdoor. I visit Eye Clinic once a year at TTSH. During my recent visit there, I have been asked to visit stable eye clinic in May next year. Thanks in advance.

Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:

​​We will normally advise cataract surgery only if it has affected your vision such that it impairs your day to day activities. In general, most patients with vision of worse than 6/12 will notice that their vision may not be good enough for daily activities.​


Question by sadiq4

Dear Dr.Rosman, Please advise if above (Cataract removal by Castor Oil application on eye) can be effected over a period of 6months to clear the ill-effect permanentally.

Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​​

Currently, there is no published evidence to show that castor oil can remove cataracts. As such, hospitals do not prescribe such a treatment for cataracts.​


Question by Charmaine C*****

Hi Dr Rosman,

My father had surgery to remove cataracts 2 days ago.

Must he wear Sunglasses when he is at home or when he is sitting near windows ?

Thanks

Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​​

Sunglasses can be used after cataract surgery. It serves as a protective shield in the early stages after surgery and helps to reduce glare in the early stages. Your dad can use it whenever he feels there is a need for it.


Question by Jacqueline A**

  1. is it true each eye can only operate once in a lifetime?
  2. if need to operate and yet keep delaying may result unable to operate in the future?
  3. why I heard some people after operating need to wear specs for presbyopia even multi lens was performed? Thank you.

​ Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​​

  1. Normal cataract surgery is only required once in a lifetime. However, should the surgery be complicated, there may be a requirement for additional surgeries.
  2. The longer we delay a cataract surgery, the denser the cataract will become. This will mean that in future, the surgery may be more difficult resulting in greater risks of complications and longer time required for recovery.
  3. Yes, in some individuals, they may still require glasses for certain activities even after using multifocal intraocular lenses. Most patients are spectacle independent after cataract surgery with multifocal intraocular lenses, but not all. This is a known limitation of multifocal intraocular lenses.​

Question by Peh Wee M**

Hi Mr Rosman,

I am in my early thirties and was diagnosed with mild cataract in my right eye. May I know can I book your appointment for second opinion consultation? If yes, how do I go about in making the booking.

​Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​​

​ You can contact our Appointments Department directly at +65 6227 7266 or email appointments@snec.com.sg to schedule an appointment to see an eye specialist at Singapore National Eye Centre.


Question by yeap phaik ***

Is there a greater risk of retinal detachment detachment as I have been having floaters?​

Answered by Dr Mohamad Rosman, Senior Consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre:​​​

Floaters on its own do not increase the risks of retinal detachment. But floaters can be a sign of a retinal tear which may lead to retinal detachment.

See previous page for more information on ​Dr Mohamad Rosman Bin Othman​​​​​.

Ref: O17