It’s not hard finding optometrists in Singapore. It’s finding good ones with affordable services that may trip you up. If you have an expat insurance, you probably won’t have to worry but if you have the basic hospital and emergency cover, then price and quality would be a consideration.
Your eyes are the windows to your soul, or so, a poet once said. Taking care of your eyes, for those of us who need spectacles or contact lenses can be annoying but shouldn’t be frustrating. The first step to taking care of your eyes is visiting an optometrist.
Now, I’ve been wearing glasses for decades. It should’ve been longer but I refused to admit there was something wrong with my eyesight. Nerdy kid that I was, I would always sit in front so I didn’t notice any problem. Unfortunately, one of my university lecturers didn’t like me and made me sit at the back.
“Hey, E,” I asked my seatmate when I saw he finished writing down the questions on his paper. We were in the middle of the test. “May I borrow your glasses?”
E started at me for a second and, I suppose, taking pity on me, lent them to me. When I placed them over my eyes. I gasped.
“It’s so clear!” I said.
But I held out for a few years more until necessity required I wear them.
Anywho, here’s what you need to know to when you have to visit optometrists in Singapore
Optometrists in Singapore
Malls here in Singapore have multiple companies selling glasses. I went inside OwnDays, one of the big optical stores established in Japan, and asked the staff how much was the eye check.
“No charge,” she said.
Thinking I misheard her, I reframed the question.
“No charge,” she repeated. “It’s free.”
I don’t know about you, but any check-up related to my eyes or my health that comes for free is suspect. I wondered whether it’s because their staff were opticians and not optometrists. Here are the major difference between opticians, optometrists, ophthalmologists, according to webmd.
Optician – “Opticians aren’t eye doctors and can’t give eye exams. They get a 1- or 2-year degree, certificate, or diploma. They fill the prescription your eye doctor gives you.”
Optometrist – “They’re medical professionals, but they didn’t go to medical school. After college, they spent 4 years in a professional program and got a doctor of optometry degree. Some optometrists get additional clinical training after optometry school. They focus on regular vision care and prescribe eyeglasses and contacts.”
Opthalmologists – “They went to medical school. After that, they had a 1-year internship and a residency of 3 years. That’s sometimes followed by a 1 to 2 years fellowsip. They offer complete eye care services”
In Singapore, the only path to obtain a B. Sc. in Optometry and a Masters in Clinical Optometry is via overseas study or to enroll at a local affiliate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Salus University.
My Chosen Optometrists in Singapore
After googling and reading yelp reviews, I opted to visit the Phillip D. Izaac Optometrist and Contact Lens Clinic in Paragon. I had Dr. Roland Izaac check my eyes. He holds both a Bachelors and a Masters in Optometry and he was praised in yelp as one of the best optometrists in Singapore.
Regular testing is currently SGD 95 ex GST. I had about 7 tests done on my eyes including the contact lens check-up. With the eye exam plus contact lens fitting, the cost came up to SGD120 ex GST. There was the usual reading the letters on the board, peering through one of the machines, etc. One of the best tests in my opinion was the Optical Coherent Tomography Analysis where I was shown a 3D photo of my eyes. It was an additional SGD 55 (grand total of SGD 175 ex GST) but it was worth it. Dr. Izaac explained what I was looking at but the information flew over my head. What I focused on was that I still have healthy eyes. Instead of the 30-minute check-up I expected, I spent slightly over an hour with him.
There are other clinics out there, namely the Singapore National Eye Centre, who do have optometrists on their roster, not just opticians. Below is their price list.
Ordering Contact Lenses from Optometrists in Singapore
Since my glasses prescription hadn’t changed, I didn’t need to order new ones. My contact lenses, on the other hand, Dr. Izaac revised slightly to compensate for my age. One thing you’ll find in Singapore is that contact lens prices among optometrists in Singapore, even for the same brand like Acuvue, can vary.
I got quotes from SGD 65 up to SGD 85 for a box of 30.
If you use Acuvue
- Download the My Acuvue app. You’ll get a SGD 30 welcome reward you can use toward your purchase. Don’t select a clinic in the app until you’ve decided where to pick it up from. You won’t be able to use the reward in other shops or clinics.
- Purchase in multiples. If you purchase more than 4 boxes, the individual price drops by about 10%-15%. If you purchase more, the individual price goes down farther.
You can purchase online. Some online shops based in Malaysia sell the brands cheaper. Or, like most Singaporeans, you can opt to travel to nearby Johor Baru in Malaysia and purchase the contact lenses there. Apparently, the prices are way cheaper if the online forums are to be believed.
In my case, I ordered one box each. I was told to wear my new contacts for one week then visit my optometrist again. Pity, they don’t offer 90-day boxes.
* If you want to read about finding dentists in Singapore, read my post here.