Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) was incorporated on 3 March 1989 and commenced operation in October 1990. It is the designated national eye centre within the public sector healthcare network. SNEC spearheads and coordinates the provision of specialised ophthalmological services with emphasis on quality education and research, with a faculty of close to 80 ophthalmologists.
SNEC is part of the Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) academic cluster of four hospitals, five national specialty centres, eight primary healthcare polyclinics and three community hospitals. Since its opening in 1990, 10 subspecialties have been established to provide a full range of eye treatment from primary to tertiary levels for the entire spectrum of eye conditions.
SNEC offers 10 major subspecialties, a range surpassed by few centres in the world. It provides specialist eye care to more than 50 per cent of patients in the public sector and is ranked among first-in-class for its clinical excellence, the enduring legacy of founding Medical Director, the late Professor Arthur Lim.
SNEC is one of the few institutions in the world that records every single major operation for teaching and monitoring of surgery to ensure high standards and outcomes. The impact has been tremendous. At SNEC, the success rate of cataract surgeries is about 99% (visual outcome of 6/12 or better).
SNEC is actively involved in clinical trials and research into the causes and treatment of major eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and myopia.
The Singapore Eye Research Institute was set up in 1997 as Singapore’s national research institute for ophthalmic and vision research, with the mission of conducting high impact eye research to prevent blindness, low vision and major eye diseases common to Singaporeans and Asians.
Since its inception, SERI has achieved international recognition for the quality of its research. It punches above its weight with Singapore generating the highest number of eye publications per capita in the world amidst global heavyweights such as the United States, United Kingdom and Japan, as reported in The International Ophthalmology journal. About 95% of ophthalmic research done in Singapore is carried out by SERI.
More importantly, SERI’s research has translated into effective clinical care and better outcomes for patients suffering from conditions such as corneal diseases, myopia, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. The institute is also at the forefront of developing natural anti-microbial drugs that will see potential benefit going beyond treating eye conditions.
Ophthalmic education is a key pillar of SNEC’s strategic focus. As the national eye centre, SNEC trains one in two ophthalmologists in Singapore, and beyond teaching, drives education research and faculty development through its collaborations with academic institutes.
Continuing education is another facet and SNEC’s annual calendar of educational programmes caters to all ophthalmic healthcare professionals, elevating their capabilities to advance the field
Thousands of ophthalmologists from neighbouring countries and beyond have participated in the SNEC’s teaching courses and international meetings, which are organised annually. To advance ophthalmic care and research, and to increase opportunities for professional interactions and collaboration, SNEC continues to foster strategic links with leading eye institutions around the world.
SNEC was accorded the Excellence for Singapore Award in 2003 for achieving excellence in the area of Ophthalmology, thrusting Singapore into international prominence. The Centre also became the first eye institution in Singapore to achieve the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation in 2009, and subsequently, re-accreditation in 2012 and 2016.