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Cataract Subspecialty

What We Do

The Cataract Subspecialty Department is led by Professor Chee Soon Phaik (Head and Senior Consultant). It provides cataract surgery for complicated cases such as subluxated (displaced) cataracts and intraocular lenses (IOL). Complicated cases often present with other pathologies, including brunescent cataract with low cornea endothelial cell count and posterior polar cataract.

Key facts and figures

  • Complicated Cataract was separated from General Cataract & Comprehensive Ophthalmology in 2014. Before the split, a focus group was convened monthly to discuss complicated cases. Since 2012, the department has been conducting audits on new technologies, e.g. cataract removal technologies and latest IOL designs.

  • Various in-house and external courses are conducted, including FLACS training as well as courses on the latest cataract surgical technologies and techniques, IOL implants and devices relating to cataract surgery.

  • Local, regional and international instructional courses are taught on a regular basis to facilitate the structured training of cataract surgery, which aims to maintain quality visual outcomes without compromising patient safety.

  • Referrals are received for the management of complicated cataracts nationwide and from the region, with more than 300 subluxated cataract surgeries being performed since 2002.

  • The department is an early pioneer of FLACS in Singapore, having performed it since 2012.

Breakthroughs in technology

  1. FLACS: this is the latest adjunct to enhance surgery predictability. It has a special safety role in complicated cases, such as brunescent cataract and posterior polar cataract. FLACS reduces the amount of ultrasound energy needed for nuclear fragmentation and is equipped with a live optical coherence tomography imaging function to track eye movements. Analysing the clinical outcomes in the first two years of FLACS at SNEC, the percentage of 6-week post-operative unaided visual acuity (UAVA) of 20/25 or better was higher in FLACS patients (68.6%) than in the controls (56.3%; P < 0.0001). This study also demonstrated a low complication rate with FLACS surgery (Chee, Yang, & Ti, 2015).

  2. Professor Chee Soon Phaik has designed surgical instruments, such as lens-holding forceps and suture hooks for iris-fixated IOL cases, to handle complex cataract surgery.

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