How to choose a good TCM ophthalmologist in Singapore?


What is TCM ophthalmology?


In TCM, eyes are not viewed as individual organs but as part of an interconnected system that reflects the overall health of the body. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see practitioners use various aspects of the eyes, such as their colour, shape, and overall state to assess a patient's health.


TCM ophthalmology, also known as Chinese ophthalmology, refers to a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of eye diseases and disorders. Chinese medicine for eyes takes a holistic approach to eye care and a combination of treatments is often prescribed to patients. These can range from acupuncture and herbal remedies to dietary therapy and lifestyle changes. They are not only aimed at nourishing the eyes but also to promote overall well-being.

What are the qualities to look for in a TCM ophthalmologist?


Our eyes are precious, and we will want them to receive the proper care they deserve. Here are our tips for when it comes to looking for a TCM ophthalmologist.


Communicates well

It can be frustrating when we find ourselves confused by the jargon that medical professionals use. Having an ophthalmologist who can get the message across regarding your condition and the next steps to take can set your mind at ease. Another factor to take note of is whether they encourage questions and if they are willing to take time to explain anything that you may not understand.


Caring and empathetic

When we suspect there is a problem with our eyes or those of a loved one, we will undoubtedly panic. Therefore, it is important to have a TCM ophthalmologist who demonstrates compassion and empathy towards their patients.


For instance, GF Ong, whose child is a patient with us, shared her experience, "Dr Pat Lim has been very assuring and shown a lot of care in treating my kid since early 2022.Imagine being in the shoes of a worried parent. Would it not be a relief to have a doctor who is understanding of the situation and works towards reassuring you as a parent or caregiver?


Provides patient-centred care

Patient-centred care, also known as person-centred care, is the belief that healthcare is not a one-way street. Some of us may have the notion that all we can do is receive a diagnosis from the doctor and carry out the next steps according to their advice. Another misconception of patient-centred care is that the doctor provides anything that the patient asks for.


In reality, it involves the consideration of the patient's wants, needs, end goals, and current condition. It can even be said to be a partnership between the doctor and patient, along with their caregivers. This can involve taking a holistic approach to their condition and building a rapport to ensure the patient's comfort.


An example of this can be seen in the following testimony provided by Luisa, a patient of ours.

My western eye doctor says he is only able to help me when my flares happen. But he is not able to prevent the flare from happening. The constant high pressure would cause damage to my optic nerves but have no solution to control the flares from happening.


I am so thankful to have met Dr Pat. She shares a lot of her knowledge and looks at my lifestyle as a whole. Not only my eye problems. She gives advice on how to manage my daily stress and lifestyle. With the herbal medicine and acupuncture, I can see improvements not only for my eyes but also my overall health and energy.


I feel she really cares for me an my condition and always makes the effort to check in on how I am feeling. She takes time to also listen to my health complaints and gives advice on how to manage them.


She is not only a trusted TCM doctor, but a caring friend I am grateful to have. Thank you.


This testimony showcases how patient-centred care in the form of empathy and warmth can create a pleasant experience for patients. It highlights the importance of building rapport and human touch as indispensable qualities when on the lookout for a TCM ophthalmologist.  


Tips for finding a good TCM ophthalmologist


Start a conversation

A good way to decide if a TCM ophthalmologist is for you is to simply start a conversation. You can start by asking questions during the eye diagnosis and notice how he or she responds. Does the doctor welcome questions and answer them in detail or rush through them and leave you with even more doubts? As TCM eye diagnosis takes a holistic approach, the doctor needs to take time to get to know you, including through asking questions of their own.


Read patient reviews

Before we step into a restaurant, we might check their online reviews. The same goes for your TCM ophthalmologist! Reviews can give you an insight into the doctor’s expertise, and whether they are recommended by others. This can help you know what to expect and put you at ease before meeting him or her for the first time.


Visit the clinic

In addition to reading reviews and asking for referrals, consider visiting the clinic in person. This can give you an insight into the environment, facilities, and levels of patient comfort. Pay attention to the overall state of the clinic. Is it clean and well-maintained? Next, observe how the staff members interact with other patients. Are they courteous and friendly? These factors play a part in providing you or your loved ones with a pleasant experience.


Prioritise your comfort

Evaluate how you feel after the initial session. Do you feel at ease? Are you comfortable with the prospect of having to meet the doctor again? You might also want to consider other factors such as the location of the clinic, flexibility when it comes to rescheduling, and the doctor's availability for appointments and follow-ups.


Ask for referrals

While it is convenient to type “TCM eye care near me” into Google and let the search engine do its work, asking for referrals may produce better results. You can ask your friends or family members to provide recommendations for ophthalmologists who incorporate Chinese medicine into eye diagnosis. This will allow you to tap into their experiences and potentially find a doctor that is suited for you.


Are you looking for TCM eye care?


If you are interested in TCM eye diagnosis or Chinese medicine for eyes, get in touch with us at ICU Eye Care Unit and we will be in touch soon.

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