Monday, 25 February 2013

$5 eye examination at Ngee Ann Polytechnic Optometry Centre

I find myself cursing while hunting for a parking lot within Ngee Ann Polytechnic. The nearest car park to my destination was full and the other parking zone was located at another end, which seemed like a few days of walking distance from the place I am about to visit. After I found a spot, I alighted and made my way to my location.

----------Three Days Earlier----------

I was surfing the internet for some nice frames to replace my present eyeglasses. Some random Google Search led me to which offers affordable frames and even prescription lens. The online prices were significantly lower than what optical shops quoted me, up to two hundred dollars! I decided to try buying my next eyeglasses online for a chance but I needed an updated report on my prescription lens. 
After a few minutes, I chanced upon Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Optometry Centre, which provides an eye examination for only $5! I found out that the examination was conducted by trainees/students, but their findings would be verified by a lecturer. I made an online booking at for an appointment three days later and received a call shortly after to confirm the booking.

----------Back to present----------
After about 15 minutes, I managed to find the Optometry Centre through a maze of buildings. The place was clean and modern, with young lab-wearing students springing about. I registered myself at the counter and paid $5, then sat among the ‘patients’ waiting for my appointment. I felt so old sitting among the young students who were probably there to get their eyes checked as well.

A quick 5 minutes later, one presentable young chap approached me and introduced himself. I followed him into a room where I was subjected to a flurry of questions on my health, medical condition and eyesight.  I learnt about floaters during the questioning: these strains of wormlike substances drove me crazy and I would twirl my eyeballs just to see these suckers spin.  There were also specific questions directed on the causes and occurrences of headaches (Oh yes, I do experience severe headaches, but only when my wife asks for money). 

What came next was a prolonged process of going through different lens while I wore a trial frame and attempted to read snellen charts.  Once over, the trainee cleared the results with his lecturer, who came in and took a second reading using a Phoropter.  The trainee then used various optical instruments to perform a thorough inspection on my eyes including 
  • eye pressure (where a machine blew air into your eyeball),
  • eye muscles (‘head don’t move, only the eyes move and follow my flashlight’)
  • Some pupil or eyeball functional test (I almost sprained my eyeballs while trying to widen them and look at different directions)
  • external inspection of the eyeball (the trainee’s face was about an inch away from my naked eyeball...very awkward as I am naturally shy around strangers).
I did exceedingly well in the peripheral vision test, thanks to years of intensive training while dating my wife.  Developing strong peripheral vision is an essential skill to ogling at girls while out with spouses. Women are super sharp at detecting any eye movement directed at other girls.  My wife almost ripped my eyeballs out when she caught me once at the beach. 

I sensed some hiccups during one test when the trainee discovered some substance in my eye and alerted the lecturer, who gave me  a closer examination.  They deliberated on the findings while I froze in my chair, wondering if years of blinking at sexy girls had finally taken its toll.  But fortunately, it was assessed to be nothing serious. 

The session took about an hour and the trainee debriefed me on the results.  Apparently I had mild cataracts developing in my left eye, which was due to age and UV (and probably overuse of my left peripheral vision as my wife walked by my right side when we go on dates).  I was advised to wear wrap around eyewear to prevent UV from creeping into my eyes, preferably what Cyclops from X-Men wore.  I was also in a higher risk group of developing glaucoma, as the angle between my cornea and iris was smaller than the average person.   If I experienced any nausea or severe headache in a dark room, I had to see a doctor immediately.  But I  usually experienced such extreme symptoms only in the office; which would go away immediately when I knocked off work.  Other than the two issues, my eyes were perfectly okay. In short, I am cleared to continue gazing at the opposite sex.

The trainee then passed me a handwritten slip on my eyewear prescription which indicated the Sph, Cyl and Axis of both eyes, and thanked me for coming. Feeling like I had underpaid for a such an impressive suite of tests and care, I contemplated hugging the trainee, but managed to restrain myself.  Back home, I realized that ‘pupillary distance (PD)’ was not included in the prescription report and I called the centre for the details. Those intending to order their prescription lens online, you may want to ask them to write in the PD as well.

I really didn’t know what to expect for $5.  For such a small fee, the centre provided a thorough examination of the eyes.  It is also free from commercial interest so the readings were definitely objective and impartial.  I worried that the trainees would probably cause me to go blind during the tests since they were so young and inexperienced but they handled the entire session very well. What’s more reassuring was the fact that essential results are cleared by their lecturers.  Really an awesome deal.

  • Polite and careful trainees
  • results cleared by lecturers
  • thorough examination on different aspects of the eye
  • prescription report form
  • comfortable environment
  • detailed explanation on the result
  • No-fuss and easy booking system with stipulated time

  • C’mon, $5? What’s there to dislike? Except the parking problems in the area.


  1. Hi,

    How was your experience with selectspecs? I'll also going to Ngee Ann poly for my eye test, forb purpose of specs purchase online as well. Would appreciate if you could share your experience. Thanks!

  2. Hi, i'm still using their specs since this posting. can go ahead with the online purchase - they are reliable and the quality of the lens are good.

  3. If u need progressive/bifocal lenses - not advisable online purchase as these lenses need fixing/adjustment by an optician for the best/right focus for your eyes to feel right/comfortable. Got this comment from an employee I met working at National Eye Centre, General Hospital.

  4. A very useful blog. I am very much benefited after reading this blog.