Singapore National Eye Centre

The Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC; Chinese: 新加坡全国眼科中心) commenced operations in 1990. It was founded to lead and organize specialised ophthalmological services with special emphasis on research and education. Since its inauguration, SNEC has averaged an annual workload of 14,000 major eye surgeries and 13,000 laser procedures. The SNEC also actively participates in clinical trials and researches the causes to find treatments to eye conditions such as myopia and glaucoma.


After efforts by ophthalmologists in Singapore, including Professor Arthur Lim, the government of Singapore committed $17 million (US$10 million) to establish a national eye centre in 1989. Planning and negotiation had begun 5 years earlier. The commitment for support resulted in, not a formal document, but a simple handshake between Professor Lim and Dr. Kwa Soon Bee, then Permanent Secretary of the Minister of Health. [ Lim Kuang Hui, Leading Lights in the Asia-Pacific, Continental Press Pye Ltd., 2006, p. 219 ]

It was felt that the originally conceived name, "National Eye Centre" was an inadequate name for peer reviewed journals and international meetings. As a result, the name "Singapore National Eye Centre" was conceived. [ Lim Kuang Hui, Leading Lights in the Asia-Pacific, Continental Press Pye Ltd., 2006, p. 220 ]

Surgical blocks (buildings) A and B at Singapore General Hospital were extensively remodeled including placing a silver metal-like facade over the original white bricks. The construction was completed in October, 1990. Since then, an 8-storey building has been added to the original structure.

The Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Singapore National Eye Centre in 1997. The institution, along with the U.S. based, but international in scope, ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) established a joint meeting initially called "SERI-ARVO" in 2003, but is now called "Asia ARVO". [ [ Asia ARVO ] ] Asia ARVO is held every two years but not always in Singapore.

Clinical Services

The clinical services at the Singapore National Eye Centre include [ ] :
*Cataract and Comprehensive Ophthalmology
*Corneal Service
*Glaucoma Service
*Neruo-ophthalmology Service
*Ocular Inflammation and Immunology Service
*Oculoplastic Service
*Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
*Refractive Surgery Service
*Vitreo-Retinal Service

Although there is work in ocular pathology, there is no separate ocular pathology service. Fellowships are offered in all of the major fields of ophthalmology, except ocular pathology. [ [ Singapore National Eye Centre : Fellowship Programmes ] ]

There are frequent visiting professors at the centre which enhance training and professional interaction. Some visiting professors hold titles, such as "Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon". [ [ rootman ] ]


The eye centre has clinics with 50 consultation suites, 9 operating theatres [ Singapore National Eye Centre (brochure), April 2006 edition, p. 2 ] , research facilities, and offices in the 2 adjoining buildings. It also has a pharmacy near the entrance. The buildings do not have retail space or restaurants. However, there is food available nearby, including at the Singapore General Hospital. The eye centre also has a library.

Role in discovering the worldwide fungal keratitis problem from Renu contact lens solution

In May, 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a notification warning of fungal eye infections (fungal keratitis) linked to the ReNu brand of contact lens cleaner. [ ] This condition was first described by ophthalmologists at the Singapore National Eye Centre several months earlier. [ [ ] ] [ ] Being the first to report it risked the centre's international reputation but, in the end, highlighted the astute observations of the centre's physicians. [ [ Singapore National Eye Centre : Press Releases & Archive ] ]


The Singapore National Eye Centre is located near Singapore General Hospital. It is within walking distance from the Outram Park MRT Station as well as accessible by bus.


*Singapore National Eye Centre website (has photographs of the centre) []
*photographs of fungal keratitis []


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