Big J has had myopia since P1, partly genetic and lack of outdoor time. It doesn’t help that past 2 years, there has been an increase in digital time due to HBL and online lessons. As I suspected, I brought him for an eye check in the middle of this year and it went up by more than 100 degrees to over 500 degrees! A regular pair of spectacles will only help him to see but not manage the progression of myopia, so I need to look into myopia management control for him.
Many have asked why did I choose this form of myopia control ie Ortho K night lens over the rest of the possible myopia management options as listed below.
1. Atropine medicated eye drop – Big J actually did consider this however there are a few side effects (sensitive to light, need to wear transition lens).
2. Myopia management glasses – I know for a fact that the effectiveness is lower than that of Ortho-K night lens given there is still a distance from the eyes to the lens for effective myopia management. But you may consider if your child is not suitable for night lenses as these specialty glasses are more effective compared to the traditional normal glasses out in the market
3. Ortho-K night lens – Scientifically it is proven to have the highest success rate in terms of myopia management. What better as my close friends’ kids have used them for the past 2 to 3 years, and vouched that there is a minimal progression in myopia. I have tried to outline some key questions and answers about Ortho K at the end of this blog.
Of all the options, Ortho-K ranked the most effective.
So once I have decided on Ortho K, I decided to go ahead W OPTICS as it is open daily till 930pm, similar to retail stores in any malls, which suits my schedule as most other centers close by 5pm and not open on weekends. W OPTICS has 5 myopia centres located in Singapore and I have chosen Great World as big J’s attending centre. This suits my schedule better especially during initial fitting days where I need to bring him to check more often.
During our first consultation, big J’s eyes were assessed for their suitability for Ortho-K as they want to ensure that this myopia management option is best suited for him to achieve the optimal myopia management result. It was a very lengthy first consultation to assess suitability before customising the lenses with the correct fit for myopia control. We waited for another 2 to 3 weeks before the customised lenses arrived and to do the actual fitting (so best for the fitting and initial 1 week to be during the school holidays for more convenience and checking).
On the actual day of fitting, the optometrist taught big J how to wear the night lenses as well how to clean and store them properly. My attending optometrist at W OPTICS was very knowledgeable and reassuring, In fact, during the fitting, big J was able to put on himself with little issue through the techniques taught by him. We had to return the day after to check the eye conditions and even more practices so that big J was confident to do it on their own. The next appointment was 1 week later where he has achieved 6/6 vision. Thereafter appointments are scheduled a month later, 3 months later and 6 months later for regular follow up. The optometrist would also ask him to bring his lenses along and the lenses would be checked to ensure they are still in good condition.
As it was first time wearing contact lenses, truth to be told he did fumble a bit at home. Even putting eye drops is not really a walk in the park as it is not easy when we putting “things” into our eyes. But with the guidance of the attending optometrist at W OPTICS during fitting, as they say practice makes perfect!
I was so glad to say after 2 weeks of using this daily, it was almost second nature to him. He is now very confident in inserting and removing his night lenses, especially in the morning rush hours to go to school, I was initially worried he would take forever to remove and hence needed to wake up earlier, but my worries were unfounded. I am also assured as I have his optometrist on my whatapps so I know I have help and guidance if ever I got queries at home.
As this is only the third month since he started, it is still premature to conclude on its effectiveness based on my son’s experience (I will give an update on my IG during his 6-month checkup) but the immediate benefit has to be the immense freedom he gets from not wearing glasses, to indulge in contact sports, swim without power goggles and just not needing to search for his glasses upon waking up. Do note that your child does need to be very disciplined in wearing them every night to have effective myopia control else after 2 days if you don’t wear them at night, you will go back to the same degree that you have started and of course in the long round not achieving the myopia management that you have hoped for
In hindsight, I should have started him earlier before the sudden increase of more 100+ degree due to the Circuit breaker/HBL. As much as we can blame it on genetics and screen time due to HBL, the bare minimum we can do is for more outdoor time (recommended 2 hours a day, yes it is a tall order but some are better than none), good lighting at home and control of unnecessary screen time.
These are some burning questions that I often get from my friends with regards to Ortho K night lens.
What is Ortho-K?
Orthokeratology/Ortho-K is a non-surgical procedure using customised hard contact lenses to gently shape the curvature of the cornea to improve vision, most wearers will not need to wear glasses during the day when they are on Ortho-K night lens. Most are able to achieve 6/6 vision during the day.
Is Ortho-K safe?
Ortho-K procedure is FDA approved. It does not permanently alter your cornea shape and is reversible once you stop wearing them. Ortho-K (cornea reshaping therapy) started over 70 years ago. Modern technology in design and production makes it a reliable and precise way of safe vision correction. Of course, with all use of contact lenses, proper maintenance and cleaning of the lenses is necessary to keep them safe and effective.
How old can a child start using Ortho-K night lenses?
Children from age 5, but it also depends on the maturity of the child to be able to putting in and removal of the Ortho-K night lenses as no one will be able to help with that. As for the cleaning, parents can help them in that aspect. That said, the child would need to go for an evaluation assessment to determine his/her suitable for the Ortho-K night lenses.
What are the benefits?
The key benefit would be managing myopia progression in child. I would want to arrest the increase of his degree or slow down the rate of deterioration, and I would not want it to go to 1000 degree of short sightedness. High degree of myopia will also put them at risk at eye diseases later on in life. A myopia of 500 is consider high myopia and it can put them at higher risk to eye diseases in their later life. However, this can also be proved in the long run at least within 3 to 6 months of usage.
The most immediate and tangible benefit to the wearer is definitely the life changing freedom of not wearing spectacles in the day. This is especially prominent for active and sporty kids like big J as he plays sports, sometimes contact sports or when he goes swimming. With such freedom, it is had to be a bespectacled boy again. In fact, after wearing for 3 months, as his mum I have forgotten how he looks like pre Ortho-K days.
How long do you have to continue with the Ortho-K treatment for?
The wearers need to wear the lenses almost every night to maintain the required shape for optimal effect. Each pair of night lenses may last up to 1 year and differs individually due to handling and aftercare. It is recommended that for effective myopia management in children, the child continues with the Ortho-K treatment till he is in his teens, aroudn 18 years old, when myopia would typically stabilised. Thereafter, you can continue wearing it purely for freedom in the day or opt for corrective laser surgery like LASIK.
How much does Ortho-K treatment cost?
At W OPTICS, Ortho-K treatment starts from $2,500 and it also depends on the complexity of each case and the degree of myopia sought to be corrected. This treatment cost covers the lenses, first set of cleaners and also a series of regular check-ups over the course of 12 months to ensure that myopia control is achieved. To find out more, you can book your child for a first assessment on suitability and price quote.
Ortho-K night lens is available at selected W OPTICS Myopia Centres. Videre is now part of W OPTICS Group.
W OPTICS @ Great World (6733 5665)
W OPTICS @ Suntec City (6736 1303)
Videre @ The Centrepoint (6219 3656)
Videre @ Forum The Shopping Mall (6369 0041)
Videre @ Marina Square (6250 0328).
Open daily till 930pm (most other centres close by 5pm and not open on weekends) This suits busy families better especially during initial fitting days where I need to bring him to check more often.
Great World City #02-22 Singapore
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