Retinal Detachment Surgery Saved a Singapore Celebrity’s Eye from Complete Blindness

Beautiful woman eye

Retinal detachment can strike anyone, anywhere and at any time. This is what Singapore singer-songwriter Dick Lee found out when he was 21. After a night of partying out and celebrating his birthday, Lee woke up the next morning seeing black spots that obstructed his vision. It was later found out that his eye suffered from a detached retina. This eye condition is critical as it can cause complete blindness when not treated immediately. Thankfully, Lee was able to seek proper treatment and underwent a retinal detachment surgery to save his eyesight. This account was shared by Dick Lee himself back in 2016 when he became an ambassador for the VisionSave campaign.

If you are on your guard about experiencing the same harrowing account faced by Dick Lee, read this article to learn more about how retinal detachment surgery can save your vision. Doctors from Asia Retina are specialists in this procedure and they provide us with their expert advice about the subject in this post.

Facts about retinal detachment

The eye’s retina plays an important part when it comes to vision processing. It is a thin tissue lines up the inside of the back of the eye and is responsible for processing light image that is focused by the cornea and lens into the eye. The retina transports these to the different portions of the brain, which then allows us to know and understand what we are seeing.

Retinal Detachment illustration

The retina can be damaged. When this happens, the condition of the eye is placed at risk and failure to have this treated with urgency can lead to serious consequences.

Retinal detachment can be caused by breaks, holes, or tears in the retina. Often times, these are caused by the spontaneous separation of the vitreous gel from the retina. The following are the initial signs may lead to a detached retina:

  • Eye floaters
  • Flashing lights (photopsias)

Signs that your eye condition has progressed into retinal detachment include:

  • A dark shadow that affects a portion of the eye’s vision, which can eventually reach the eye’s central vision

Individuals at risk of retinal detachment

Below are the conditions that can place an individual at high risk of experiencing a detached retina:

  • Individuals who have experienced retinal detachment in an eye in the past
  • Individuals who underwent cataract surgery
  • Individuals whose eye has suffered a major injury or trauma beforehand
  • Individuals whose family’s health history include this eye condition
  • Individuals over the age of 40 years
  • Individuals diagnosed with myopia (nearsighted)

Surgery for retinal detachment in Singapore

Doctor performing eye surgery

A surgery is needed to restore the eye’s function in the occurrence of a detached retina. There are two ways to perform a retinal detachment in Singapore:

  • Scleral buckle
  • Vitrectomy

Surgery done by scleral buckling can be done in 45 minutes and is performed in the following steps:

  1. Application of local anaesthesia with sedation or general anaesthesia,
  2. Application of numbing and dilating eye drops,
  3. Creation of a cut to the eye’s outer layer (Sclera),
  4. Setting and stitching of a buckle around the sclera to support the retina by pushing outer layer to reattach itself to the retina and seal any holes or tears,
  5. Additional procedures, like cryopexy or laser photocoagulation, can be done to avoid the recurrence of the detachment,
  6. Draining of any excess fluids behind the retina,
  7. Finally, application of antibiotic eye drops to avoid infection.

Surgery done by Vitrectomy follows this process:

  1. Application of local anaesthesia with sedation or general anaesthesia,
  2. Cleansing the eye with an antiseptic solution,
  3. Draping the eye with a sterile cover,
  4. Attaching of an eyelid speculum to keep the eye open during the procedure,
  5. Creation of a small cut (about .5 mm) on the outer layer of the eye,
  6. Accessing of the eye through the pars plana, part of the eye’s Sclera,
  7. Insertion of a microscope and fibre-optic light to see the inside of the eye,
  8. Use of a vitrectomy probe to cut the vitreous gel,
  9. Use of a suction tool to remove the vitreous gel,
  10. Depending on the eye’s condition, the surgeon may peel back the scar tissue away from the retina, drain any unwanted and harmful fluid from the eye, or use a laser probe to destroy abnormal growth of blood vessels and close any holes or tears in the retina,
  11. Replacing the vitreous gel with either a saline solution, silicone oil, or gas bubble,
  12. Application of antibiotic ointment to the treated eye,
  13. Covering of the treated eye for protection while recovering.

Retinal detachment prevention

While we always say that prevention is better than cure, it is unfortunate that the same cannot be said about retinal detachment. However, for people who are at high risk of experiencing one, such as those with myopia or a family history of this condition, it is best that you consult with your ophthalmologist to get your eyes checked for early detection of retinal tears or holes and apply treatment that can lower your chance of getting a detached retina.


Asia Retina – Eye Specialist in Singapore
#15-10 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd,
Singapore 238859
+65 6732 0007

You may also like