Parenting

My 4 year old and her glasses…

I had an interview with SmartParents back then just two months after she was diagnosed with all the eye conditions and it was published just 2 days after my birthday (okay… quite out of point to relate it to my birthday… but you see the feeling you get when you see her face splashed in different Facebook groups and parents discussing about her and her parents openly…) Read the interview here. (Scroll to the end for the quick facts!) 

4yearold and her glasses

She was diagnosed with myopia, astigmatism and lazy eye – all at once…

We went back to KKH Eye Centre for her follow-up around 3 months after she got her glasses. I was so nervous because I imagine the optometrist telling me that her eye condition is now worse!

Thank god! It maintained!

I mean well… I don’t want to be greedy and wished for improvement and for someone who has been through annual 100degrees jump when I was young, maintaining was good enough to me.

So we are set to return in March 18 for her next follow-up. I was not advised further on what will happen from here but was reminded on the reduced screen time and close distance activities, more outdoor activities and continue to keep the glasses on 24/7.

Thankfully she is a natural when it comes to her glasses.

I was worried about how she would cope with the discomfort or inconvenience. I was worried if she would think it’s ugly and not want to put it on. I was worried if she would think it’s a pretty thing and rather have them than to improve her eye sight. I was worried about all the judgemental comments that people may make in her presence. I was worried about her friends making fun of her. I was worried about how her poor eye sight may cause her fall in the playground. I was worried about how she may injure herself on the face due to the glasses if she was to be hit by a ball.

I had so many so many worries but we are so blessed that she took everything like a boss. Of course she had her anxiety and her excitement over the glasses too.

But I tried to normalise it so that it can be made a part of her life without her over-emphasising it.

Yet I made it clear to her the cause of it and what she can do to help herself. Of course it wasn’t her fault at all. She is so young and I would say the responsibility of discovering the condition and implementing healthy (eye) activities is on me. But still I find there is a need to educate her.

We were told that while part of it could be due to the screen time or lifestyle habits, it is also likely due to genetics as both hubby and I are myopic as well.

I felt bad that she developed lazy eye because I did notice her head tilting months earlier but I thought it was her being too engrossed. It didn’t occur to me that it was because she couldn’t see well.

I remember the few waiting days for her glasses to be ready was so painful because I can only imagine how fuzzy her world is! My myopia is 500 degree with slight astigmatism and I am struggling to see. She has all three conditions in both eyes but in different degrees.

myopia ~ 300 in right; 150 in left, astigmatism ~ 175 in right and 250 in left.

If you are wondering if we have gone zero screen time after the diagnosis, the answer is no.

Screen time was part of our sanity time, it is also part of our bonding time. Through the animations and movies she watched, we have managed to teach her many interesting concepts of life. (check out our “My kids watched” series).

But yes, we made changes. There was strictly no screen time in the car nor when the lighting is bad. Majority of her screen time now is in TV while handphone is only for very brief entertainment during meal times outside.

So, given that her eye sight has not gotten worse after setting these in place, we are continuing with this practice while monitoring her closely.

More decisions will be made after her March follow-up…

How did we find out about her eye condition?

Early signs were her tilting her head when watching TV / handphone. It was diagnosed during her 4-year-old developmental screening at Hougang polyclinic. She was then referred to KKH Eye Centre for further check and prescription.

What is myopia, astigmatism and lazy eye?

Myopia (Shortsightedness)

  • Myopia, or shortsightedness is when a person can see near objects clearly but distant objects appear blurred.
  • The actual cause of myopia is not clearly known. However, genetic as well as environmental factors play a part in its development.
  • Studies show that an average of 2 to 3 hours a day of outdoor time for younger children may protect the child against myopia.

Astigmatism

  • Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea has an abnormal curvature, causing a distortion in vision.
  • The cause of astigmatism is often not known. Astigmatism is usually present from birth.  A small degree of astigmatism is considered normal and usually does not require any correction.
  • In Singapore, astigmatism is the most common cause of amblyopia, or “lazy eye”, where the brain is so used to seeing blurred images in the affected eye that it cannot adjust to seeing clearly even when given the best glasses.
  • It may lead to permanent poor vision in the affected eye if not treated early.

Lazy eye

  • Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is reduced vision in an eye that has not received adequate use during early childhood.
  • This reduced vision is not correctable by glasses or contact lenses and is not due to any eye disease The brain, for some reason, does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye.
  • With early diagnosis and treatment, the sight in the “lazy eye” can be restored. The earlier the treatment, the better the opportunity to reverse the vision loss. Amblyopia can usually be successfully treated up to the age of 7, but treatment for older children may sometimes be successful in improving vision and can be attempted

Are the fees expensive?

The 4 year-old developmental screening was free as it is fully subsidised by the government for all Singapore babies. We have been going for all the screenings in Hougang polyclinic for both Big E and Small E.

As we were referred to KKH by the polyclinic, we were regarded subsidised patient. The consultation fees came up to around S$19.00.

Where are her glasses made?

It is from OwnDays. We chose OwnDays because we wanted something simple, light, flexible and affordable. Do note that for such young children, the prescription must come from the eye centre. The optical shop will make the glasses accordingly, only checking the pupil position. The one we chose cost S$138 and we had a S$20 discount with PAssion card. Promotion valiud till April 2018. We also received OwnDays S$10 voucher which is valid on next purchase within a year.

Feel free to comment below or email or Fb msg me if you have any questions! 

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