Eye doc fined $10,000 for putting way too powerful lens into patient's eye

An eye doctor has been censured and fined $10,000 for giving a patient an implanted lens that was too powerful five years ago.

Dr Cheah Way Mun, 65, who practises at The Eye Centre at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, has also been censured and has to pay the cost of the hearing.

A statement from the Singapore Medical Council said: "Dr Cheah had caused harm to his patient, who had to undergo the pain, risk and anxiety of a second operation to correct the mistake."

In February 2009, it said, Dr Cheah used "inadequate", "improper and/or erroneous" measurement techniques when performing cataract surgery on the patient.

He also did not take into account an earlier measurement which gave a different number.

Following the surgery, the patient still could not see and returned five times because of that between February 27 and March 25 that year.

During one of the visits, Dr Cheah told the patient her vision remained poor.

The SMC said that this should have alerted Dr Cheah that the lens he had implanted was incorrect.

It was only on the fifth visit that he told the patient that he had put in a wrong lens. He then apologised and offered to do a second surgery to correct the mistake made, without charge.

The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Professor John Wong, said: "As important as it is for a doctor to not make a mistake in the first place in the management and treatment of a patient, it is equally if not more important that if the doctor unfortunately does make a mistake, the doctor will quickly find out and promptly tell the patient about it."

In mitigation, the committee said Dr Cheah has a long and unblemished record.

It was also fortunate that the patient "was well after the second operation, and no permanent injury was caused to her."

But the patient's husband, Mr Bernard Huang, said that was not true.

His wife's eyesight has never recovered, and now, even when she wears spectacles, vision from her left eye - where the wrong lens was implanted - remains blurred.