Hospital keeps an eye out for needy patients
For six years, Madam Liau Hon Kiau, 71, had a cataract in her left eye which made it difficult for her to read.
But she can read well now after undergoing cataract surgery at Farrer Park Hospital (FPH).
Madam Liau is one of three elderly patients chosen to undergo free cataract surgery at the hospital as part of its corporate social responsibility programme.
The patients, who live in an Owen Road rental block, underwent surgery in July and August.
Madam Liau, a retiree, told The New Paper in Mandarin: "I can see fine print from a shorter distance after the surgery."
She thanked her surgeon, Dr Joy Chan, profusely.
Madam Liau said: "I offered to treat her to a meal, but she said it's not necessary, as long as I can see better now."
The three patients are regular members at Pek Kio Community Centre, which FPH reached out to.
The initiative was mooted in March by Dr Bobby Cheng, an ophthalmologist at FPH. He had performed free cataract surgery for elderly residents at the Jamiyah Home for the Aged two years ago and wanted to help residents at the rental blocks.
Three other eye specialists were involved in the operations. Dr Cheng, who has 15 years' experience, suggested free cataract surgery as it is the most common eye surgery the hospital performs.
He said: "Even though Singapore has a good medical system, there are patients who still cannot afford the surgery."
A cataract operation at FPH, a 220-bed private specialist hospital, costs $5,000 for one eye.
One of the surgeons, Dr Au Eong Kah Guan, said that despite the tedious process of planning the initiative, performing cataract surgery is satisfying for both the patient and the surgeon.
The ophthalmologist said: "With a relatively inexpensive surgery which is needle-less, painless, and bloodless, almost 100 per cent of the patient's eye function can be restored."
The hospital is consulting community centres for future collaborations. Eye-care product companies, Zeiss, Bausch & Lomb and Abbott Medical Optics provided the equipment and lens.
Bausch & Lomb (Singapore)'s managing director Grace Guang said: "We are pleased that the patients benefited and their lives are more enriched now."