Fighting Myopia at The Eye Clinic
The Eye Clinic is started by Dr Cheryl Lee, an experienced ophthalmologist offering myopia solutions to both children and adults. After studying at NUS, Dr Lee decided to chase her dream of being trained by the best ophthalmologists in the world. She currently has more than 10 years of international experience and a wide range of specialist training in the UK, USA and France.
Dr Lee disclosed to us an alarming statistics of 80% of Singaporean young adults being myopic and how the national average for Singaporeans is 700 degree, as compared to 200 degree in Western countries.
Myopia causes a lot of problems. In terms of eye well-being, Myopic people has three times the risk of getting glaucoma and six times the risk of retinal detachment. Myopia is also the fourth leading cause of blindness in Singapore. Not only that, it leads to high cost as SGD $311.5 million are spent on prescription glasses a year and SGD $2 – 2.5 million is spent annually on treatments of myopia related complications. It also affects the performance in national service as myopic NS men face problems with visually demanding tasks, have poor night vision and can’t wear protective devices.
The causes of myopia can be genetic or environmental. If a parent is myopic, the child has 18% of being myopic and if both parents are myopic, the child has a higher percentage of 33%. Constant near work and lack of being outdoors also contributes to myopia. Hence, here’s a very important tip to prevent your children from having to wear glasses. Dr Lee’s advice was for children to spent at least 1h a day outdoors to avoid being myopic.
For those children who are already myopic, there are solutions to prevent the degree from increasing. It is beneficial to prevent the degree from increasing because higher degree means greater risk of blindness and certain professions like pilot only take in applicants with low degree. To control myopia in children, Dr. Lee recommends atropine eye drops and ortho-k contact lens (otherwise known as hard lens).
Using 0.01% atropine eye drop every night reduce the progression of the child’s myopia by 50%. During the first visit, Dr. Lee would check the eye health and prescription and during the subsequent visits, she would monitor the myopia progression by measuring the length of the eye and ensuring there are no adverse reactions. The higher the degree, the greater the eye length will be.
Ortho-k contact lens is worn while sleeping and is taken out when awake. Other than reducing the progression of the child’s myopia by 50%, Ortho-k contact lens also provides an additional benefit where the wearer can be free from contact lens in the next day. Dr. Lee would check the suitability of the child to wear Ortho-K contact lens based on the prescription and the eye health. The fitting of the lenses is done to ensure optimum fit. Dr. Lee would teach the child and the parents on the proper contact lens wearing procedures and the child would comes back for regular checkups to ensure that the eye is healthy and to monitor the myopia progression. Ortho-k contact lens is replaced annually.
We all heard about the LASIK surgery for adults, however fewer people has heard about the newer alternative that has been in Singapore since 2005. This newer alternative to LASIK is the Implantable Contact Lens (ICL).
ICL is able to correct your vision without removing your cornea tissue. Rather than altering the shape of the cornea by thinning the corneal tissue as in LASIK, the ICL is easily inserted into your eye behind the iris and in front of the eye’s crystalline lens through a tiny self-healing wound of 2.5mm. This groundbreaking procedure is from Switzerland and unlike LASIK, ICL is reversible, causing no damage to your natural eye.
ICL has a 20 years history and is largely known in Europe and the USA. ICL is made of Collamer, which is similar to collagen. It is biocompatible and is never rejected by the body because collagen is found in our bodies naturally.
ICL is a simple 10-minute procedure and the recovery time is short – normally less than a day. If your vision changes dramatically over time, the lens can be replaced or removed from the eye. The ICL material, Collamer contains a UV blocker that may actually prevent harmful UV rays from entering the eye and possibly preventing the development of UV related eye disorders. Furthermore, this does not cause dry eye. ICL does not have side-effects like LASIK.
There has been more than 250,000 Visian ICLs implanted around the world since 1997. Super athletes and the US Military have chosen this method of eye-corrective surgery, such as the Singaporean Mount Everest climber, Teo Yen Kai (who has 1200 and 1300 degree with 75 degree astigmatism).
Patient would be required to come back for a check after a day and then a month for a check up. It is recommend for a yearly examination to ensure everything is in place. This check-up procedure is similar to having a LASIK surgery.
Do come down to The Eye Clinic at Mandarin Gallery #04-24/25 to get a better understanding of how to fight your myopia problem.
Writer: Lim Jia Hwee | Instagram: Jiaarainbow