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Key Milestones

​Year​Significant Milestones

​World-renowned eye surgeon Professor Arthur Lim was appointed SNEC’s first medical director.

SNEC saw its first patient in October. Help me please

SNEC hosted the 26th International Congress of Ophthalmology (ICO) for the first time with 8,000 delegates, the largest international conference in Singapore.

​1991​SNEC was officially opened by then Health Minister Mr Yeo Cheow Tong.
​1995​SNEC began providing a full range of subspecialty eye care services from cataract to glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology and paediatric ophthalmology. 
​1996​SNEC partnered key public hospitals such as Changi General Hospital and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital to offer eye care services across Singapore.
​1997​The Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), the first research institute dedicated to ophthalmology research in Asia, was officially opened.
​1999​Associate Professor Vivian Balakrishnan was appointed as SNEC’s second medical director. SNEC phase 2 extension began with a $50 million, eight-storey building comprising two floors of outpatient clinics, five operating theatres, and two floors of SERI’s research clinics and laboratories, among other facilities

​Professor Ang Chong Lye became SNEC’s third medical director.

SNEC held the first annual National Eye Care Day with eye screening services for the elderly.


​SNEC received the Excellence for Singapore Award for clinical and research breakthroughs such as conjunctival stem cell transplantation.

SERI released the first findings from the Atropine in the Treatment of Myopia (ATOM) clinical trial on children. Atropine is now available as a treatment option for myopia at SNEC.
​2004​SNEC and the National Dental Centre performed the first Osteo-Odonto Keratoprosthesis (OOKP) surgery in Southeast Asia. Also known as ‘Tooth-in-Eye’ surgery, it is aimed at helping those blinded by end-stage corneal disease.

​SERI scientists became the first in the world to discover a gene that causes congenital corneal dystrophy, a severe form of blindness affecting children.

SNEC doctors became the first to establish strong link between a blinding fungal infection with a contact lens solution. That led to a worldwide recall of the product, halting the epidemic. The team received the inaugural Minister for Health Award.


​Professor Donald Tan was appointed as SNEC’s fourth medical director.

SERI was awarded a $25-million grant to develop a new, multidisciplinary five-year programme focusing on two major causes of global blindness, corneal disease and glaucoma.

​Tan Endoglide ™, a patented device endothelium insertion system for corneal transplantation, was named after Professor Donald Tan and his team.

Professors Donald Tan, Roger Beuerman and Aung Tin were the pioneer recipients of prestigious President’s Science Award 2009 for their innovative breakthroughs in ‘bench-to-bedside’ medical research in blinding corneal diseases and glaucoma, leading to major advancements in scientific knowledge and the treatment of these diseases.

​Professor Wong Tien Yin, then SERI Director, was awarded the President’s Science Award 2010 for the development and use of novel retinal imaging to understand pathways in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

SERI marked its 15th anniversary, and introduced the Singapore Integrated Diabetic Retinopathy Programme (SiDRP), a national diabetic retinopathy screening programme at polyclinics.

​First-in-Asia DMEK advanced technique for corneal transplantation with a potential for 100 per cent success, was introduced by SNEC.

SERI launched its inaugural fund raising initiative via the ‘Eyes that tell Stories’ photo exhibition, featuring the eyes of Singapore’s founding father, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, among others.

SERI was admitted as a full member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). An international alliance, the IAPB partners the World Health Organization to lead efforts in blindness prevention.

​SNEC partners with Duke-NUS to launch the Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Academic Clinical Programme, strengthening its academic medicine mission.

SERI scientists, in collaboration with Genome Institute of Singapore, National University Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital, discovered three genes linked to primary angle closure glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in Chinese people. This finding was published in the prestigious Nature Genetics journal.

SERI launched its inaugural fund raising gala dinner, ‘The EYE Ball’ in October with President Tony Tan Keng Yam gracing the occasion.
​2013​SERI’s second $25 million grant was renewed.

​Professor Wong Tien Yin was appointed as SNEC’s fifth medical director of SNEC.

Professor Donald Tan was named inaugural Arthur Lim Professor in Ophthalmology.

Professor Donald Tan, Professor Aung Tin and Professor Saw Seang Mei from SNEC/SERI were listed as the top 100 ophthalmologists in the UK-based journal, The Ophthalmologist. Professor Wong Tien Yin was named the world’s most prolific author on diabetic macular edema.

SNEC produced and made available Myopine™ eye drops (0.01% atropine) to reduce progression of childhood myopia.

Two eye research teams were conferred the President’s Science and Technology Awards.  The first, led by Professor Wong Tien Yin and his team from NUS and A*STAR for the development of a suite of novel eye image analysis technologies and the other, led by Associate Professor Tina Wong and her team from NTU for the development of a sustained drug-delivery technology to apply the anti-glaucoma medicine.
​2015​SNEC celebrated 25 years of service to the nation.

Establishment of SNEC Retina Centre, Medical Retina Department and Surgical Retina Department.

SNEC launched three SNEC/SERI books – SNEC 25 Highlights, Eye on Excellence and 25 Research Papers with Clinical Impact, published in commemoration of SNEC 25th Anniversary.


​Introduction of the Visionary Award to recognise an individual’s outstanding achievements and selfless spirit that have made a positive impact on the country, region or even the world.

Official opening of the SNEC Eye Clinic @ CGH at Changi General Hospital.


​Inauguration of The Robert Loh Professorship.

SNEC-SERI Faculty led the organising of the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) Congress together with the Singapore Society of Ophthalmology and College of Ophthalmologists, Academy of Medicine, Singapore – which received 5,000 delegates in Singapore and reaffirmed our leading position in the region.

SNEC and SERI launched the VisionSave Mobile Eye Bus that will bring eye screening to the doorstep of Singaporeans, especially the underprivileged community and the elderly living alone and/or have poor mobility.

SNEC has been appointed as the regional examination and testing centre of the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAPHO), through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing on 10 November 2017.


SNEC, SERI and National University of Singapore School of Computing co-developed a new Artificial Intelligence system to screen for diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

SNEC and SERI spearheaded first Asia-wide trial in glaucoma surgery to study two of the most widely used glaucoma surgeries to guide treatment approaches for Asian patients.

Opening of SNEC Eye Clinic @ Bedok.

SERI and SNEC awarded $24 million grant for AMD study.

Conferment of Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professorship to Professor Aung Tin.

Opening of SNEC Eye Clinic @ Sengkang at Sengkang General Hospital.

SNEC, SERI and Johnson & Johnson Vision announced a S$36.35 million research collaboration to tackle myopia.

SNEC hosted joint meeting on myopia. The meeting involved the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI).