To Dr Lim Wee Kiak, caring for others is not just a job, but an entire philosophy. The CEO and Co-founder of Singapore’s Eagle Eye Centre has dedicated his life to helping his patients, as well as others in need all over the world.
The Eagle Eye Centre is a one-stop specialist eye care facility, and one of the first to offer both optometric and ophthalmic care under one roof. “When we first got started, we wanted to make sure that the centre was comprehensive, offering both optometry as well as ophthalmology, so patients wouldn’t need to travel from place to place,” says Dr Lim.
Over the past 12 years, the business has grown from one to six centres across Singapore, caring for thousands of patients a year. A seventh centre is on the way, with further expansion being considered. “We are looking at regional as well as international expansion to see whether there is any possibility of extending our practice and exporting our services even further,” he says.
The centre offers a wide range of optical care, including refractive surgery, presbyopia treatment, cataract removal, retina services, corneal transplants, glaucoma and diabetic eye care, management of ocular inflammations, myopia screening, oculoplastic services, and neuro-ophthalmology. Dr Lim has performed thousands of eye surgeries, including complex cataract procedures.
Unlike many other practices, Dr Lim’s team have a vested interest in the performance of the business. Doctors are not just staff, they also have equity in the company which, Dr Lim says, is vital to its success. “We want to empower our staff and ensure that everybody – not just the doctors, but all staff – is working together to ensure the centre grows.”
Affordable, world-class care is the centre’s mission, and Dr Lim says it’s a never-ending commitment for the business. “Quality care is a journey with no end. We will continually strive for it,” he explains. “We actively collect feedback from our patients and look at how we can make their experience across our entire chain of services as smooth as possible. We make sure we are here to give them a ‘wow’ feeling, so they can tell their friends and family that this is the centre to go for.”
“Quality care is a journey with no end. We will continually strive for it.”
In an ever-evolving industry, Dr Lim says another success factor is keeping his staff up to date with new technology. “We ensure our staff undergo continual training, especially as there are always new medicines, treatments and procedures being developed.”
The centre recently introduced a procedure called PiXL, or photorefractive intrastromal collagen cross-linking. “This procedure is groundbreaking, for we can change the shape of the cornea just by instilling eye drops and selectively shining ultraviolet light to correct the refractive error of the eye.
This provides a good non-invasive procedure for low prescription patients, which does not involve cutting the cornea like traditional laser surgeries. Our patient results have been very encouraging and we believe it will someday be a ‘gold standard’ for refractive correction as we help further develop the algorithm for this exciting novel technology,” Dr Lim explains.
He says the centre’s good relationship with its stakeholders and vendors is essential to ensure it gets the best new products for its patients. “If there are new products coming to the market, our vendors’ first stop is usually our centre. They know we are always on the lookout for a good product that our patients will benefit from.”
The Eagle Eye Centre also works closely with the next generation of professionals in the industry, collaborating with schools of optometry at teaching institutions such as Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic.
Giving back to the community
The students also work with Dr Lim to give back to the community. “They help me to carry out community eye-screening projects,” he says. “We are invited by companies and grassroots organisations to provide screenings. So, usually on the weekend, our doctors will
go to the community and do eye screenings for residents.”
Dr Lim’s passion for helping others is also very evident in his international endeavours. The centre partners with Christian mission groups to provide much-needed care to disadvantaged people around the world. “Every year, we travel to Thailand, Laos and Myanmar to provide eye screenings, treatments and optometry services to villagers who do not have access to proper eye care.”
With his hectic schedule, it’s hard to believe Dr Lim has a few more roles outside of his medical practice. He is the Adviser to Canberra Grassroots Organisation, the Chairman of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Optometry, as well as Chairman, Board of Governors for Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), “My schedule is very demanding as I have many roles to play. How do I balance them? I wish I had 25 hours a day,” Dr Lim explains.
“How do I balance them? I wish I had 25 hours a day.”
When he’s not working, Dr Lim is an avid runner who has completed five marathons. He manages to run at least three times a week and encourages his staff to be healthy as well. “Running is a way for me to relax and keep fit. The first rule of thumb is that if you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. I want to make sure my staff are enjoying a healthy lifestyle, which can help make all of our patients healthy. In the end, helping others starts with you.”