In spite of our vigilance to give our kids a break from studies and get them outdoors for an hour or two every day, our efforts were no match to the lure of the digital screens and the intensity of our local academic pursuits. Not to mention the urgency to encourage a healthy reading habit before the age of 6 years old.
I was, therefore, quite devastated whey my son brought home his eye check-up report ordering him to get glasses. He was 11-years old. His sister also required eyewear that same year when we realized her grades were suffering because her vision was blurred and she was having trouble seeing her worksheets. She was 9.
Childhood myopia is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. My husband has perfect eyesight most of his life and is only now experiencing far-sightedness in his 40s. I, on the other hand, contracted myopia in secondary school and sadly, our kids have inherited my poor sight genes.
Inherited genes aside, children who spend more time indoors (reading, watching television and playing computer games) appear to be more at risk than those who spend more time outdoors. A multi-year study by the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) and the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), jointly conducted with the National University of Singapore (NUS), also revealed that the earlier age a child gets myopia, the severity of his/her short-sightedness in later childhood increases by 100 degrees. (source)
My husband and I count ourselves lucky that our kids only began wearing glasses in mid-primary level. We have seen kids as young as 3 years old with myopia. Luckily, the condition is easily corrected with spectacles. But because myopia often increases by 100 degrees every year till the children reach their teenage years, their vision need to be checked at least once every year, and their spectacles changed accordingly.
So why choose Ortho-k?
Once a child has contracted myopia, there is no cure for it. Your best bet is to slow its progression by ensuring that your child practices good eye care habits. This includes ensuring the near work is held further away, and that your child takes frequent breaks to rest their eyes. I don’t know if your kids listen to you? But mine sure didn’t and that means a lot of nagging on my part.
Unfortunately, our local education system also dictates that the kids do a copious amount of homework every day to keep up with their grades and their cohorts. This compounds the myopia endemic that affects our children.
Last year, I switched my kids to transition lenses to protect their eyes from the harmful sun rays when they are outdoors. While it does not stop my kids from being outdoors, playing sports with spectacles is not fun. We worry about injury to the eyes and face when they play contact sports like soccer or floor-ball. There is also a great amount of discomfort and inconvenience when you play sport wearing glasses. This is a big deterrent for my kids. My son wishes to get into parkour this year. Yet another reason to switch to Ortho-K lenses.
The biggest reason why we decided to switch to Ortho-k lenses is to slow down the progression of childhood myopia. Christine Lim, the owner of the Point Optical group, who recommended Ortho-k lens to us, shares that one of her regular customers who began wearing Ortho-k lens since she was 8 years old with a high myopia degree, was declared to have a perfect vision by the time she entered university at 18 years old.
How Does Ortho-k work?
Orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses, also known as “corneal reshaping contact lenses”, is the fitting of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that you wear overnight. While you are asleep, the lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses when you wake up.
According to Christine, the effect of Ortho-k varies for different kids. Some, after wearing Ortho-K for a period of time, have reported sustaining a perfect vision for two days after one-night of wearing the Ortho-k lenses. It generally takes a couple of days for your child to get used to the hard lenses. Kids as young as 6 years old are recommended to wear Ortho-k lenses if they meet the criteria.
But not everyone is suited to wear Ortho-k lenses. My daughter, for example, has an axial elongation of the eyeball on her left eye. In Singapore, there is currently no prescription for this condition. Hence she will have to continue with her glasses for a while.
How Much Does Ortho-K Cost?
We ordered our Ortho-K lens through the Point Optical Pte Ltd. A pair of lens cost between $1,500 to $2,000 in Singapore, depending on the prescription and additional conditions.
In my next post, I will share hygiene tips for the eye from our optometrist, Darius Lim and how to put on Ortho-k lenses and care for it.
The Point Optical has 7 branches, 2 of which are OK Lens Clinic. Here are the addresses and numbers.
- Blk 505 Tampines Central 1, #01-359, Singapore 520505 — 6787 2382
- Blk 703 Ang Mo Kio Central Ave 8, #01-2533, Singapore 560703 — 6453 7216
- Blk 624 Choa Chu Kang St. 62, #01-222A, Singapore 680624 — 6892 2720
- Blk 449 Clementi Central #01-263, Singapore 120449 — 6779 2235
- Blk 183 Toa Payoh Central #01-310 Singapore 310183 — 6259 0115
OK Lens Clinic
- Blk 183 Toa Payoh Central #02-310 Singapore 310183 — 6259 0115
- Blk 83 Marine Parade Central #02-562, Singapore 440083 — 6342 1851