Parents, don’t be alarmed if your optometrist says your child needs an eye patch. You might have questioned why your little one needs to even wear one, but rest assured, it’s just a necessary procedure to treat amblyopia.

What’s there to cover?

Amblyopia, or more commonly known as ‘lazy eye’, is the most common reason why children wear an eye patch. In order for children to see clearly, both eyes must function well together. When your child has amblyopia, it means that one eye doesn’t see as well as the other. This can cause your child’s brain to process images and sights a little blurry. If left untreated, your child’s vision in that eye may be lost permanently.

reasons to wear an eye patch

To train the weaker eye, your optometrist will usually place an eye patch over the ‘good’ eye. This is done to train and strengthen the weaker eye to see clearly. You can think of it as a workout for the other eye.

So how can we parents help?

Using an eyepatch to treat amblyopia is one of the most effective methods of treating the condition. However, it can be unnerving for children to cover one side of their eyes, especially their ‘good’ eye. When that happens, you’ll find your child itching to peel the eye patch off or complaining incessantly. Here are some tips that can help make eye patching a less anxious process for your child:

1. Get all the information you need from your optometrist

eye check up

First things first, check with your child’s optometrist how long he/she would need to wear the eye patch. In some circumstances, children are only supposed to wear the eye patch for a few hours each day. This could be a huge relief for your little one who hates the discomfort of wearing an eye patch for extended periods of time. Also, for most patches, your child only has to wear it when he/she is awake. There’s no need to go to sleep with it so your child can sleep comfortably!

2. Focus your child’s attention on other projects during patch time

Try to keep your child busy while he/she is wearing the patch to get their mind off of it. You could perhaps organise an arts and crafts project, a day out at the park, or even a little board game activity together!

3. Check in with your optometrist regularly

It’s important to schedule regular eye check ups with your optometrist to examine the progress of your child’s eyes. Your optometrist will be able to report on your child’s vision health development, whether there’s a need to continue patching, and if so, how long more.

Our children’s eyes are important to the overall development of their health. If your child has amblyopia or other vision issues, it’s necessary that you follow up with your optometrist has soon as possible to determine and treat the problem. You can book a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist near you today at planoeyecheck.com* to monitor and examine your child’s visual health.

*only available in Singapore

Have you ever experienced eye twitching? It could mean more than a muscle spasm.

Why does my eye twitch?

Medically known as ‘myokymia’, some of us may have experienced eye twitching and it’s when our eyes suddenly go into a spasm for reasons beyond our comprehension. It usually goes away after awhile, but it can be annoying. At worst, it can persist for days. Usually, our eyes twitch because they are tired and this can be caused by too much stress, eye strain and fatigue, dry eyes and allergies.

The most common cause of eye twitching is stress and eye strain, especially when we spend a prolonged duration of time staring at our digital screens with no periods of rest in between. As a result, though you might not feel it, your eyes are under the weight of a lot of stress which causes them to twitch. When this happens, it’s your eye’s way of telling you to take an eye break, fast! During this time, it’s important to look away from your screen, close your eyes for a minute or two, and simply breathe.

Dry eyes are another common source of myokymia. When we stare at the screen for excessive periods of time, our blink rate actually decreases. Our eyes aren’t lubricated enough which results in dry eyes. When this happens, your eyes can sometimes twitch as a natural response to the lack of moisture therefore, it’s important for you to grab some eye drops and restore moisture in your eyes.

If you have allergies, it’s necessary for you to take note of the cause of them. Eye allergies can show very serious symptoms such as redness, swelling, and eye twitching and sometimes, all at once. Over-the-counter eyedrops do help alleviate these symptoms, but it’s important to consult an eye doctor for a proper prescription to prevent them.

When it’s time to see an eye doctor

Eye twitching doesn’t just occur in adults, it can occur in children too. For our children growing up in the digital age, their eyes will be the first to experience the consequences of excessive screen time – think myopia, digital eye strain, and yes, eye twitching!

With their young eyes being so vulnerable to these symptoms, it’s important to get their eyes checked annually. As a parent, you can book a comprehensive eye check up at your nearest optometrist for your child at planoeyecheck.com*!

As our children’s eyes are still developing, it’s important we safeguard them and prevent any eye health problems from arising. After all, as parents, we want them to grow up free of any health and vision problems.

*Only available in Singapore. Plano eyecheck is a booking platform with partnerships with W Optics, Nanyang Optical, Videre Eyecare and Optic Point. You can choose from a wide range of outlets located all across Singapore to book your child’s next eye exam at a convenient location near you at any time.

Is your child struggling in school? It could be due to an undetected vision problem. Your child may have trouble seeing the whiteboard clearly and hence lose focus in class. This is just one of the few signs that could mean it is time for an eye examination.

Undetected vision problems may affect your child’s performance beyond the classroom. Children rarely complain about their vision as they may not realise any problems.Therefore, it is important that you recognise some signs showing that your child may have vision problems and require glasses.

Our research has shown an increase in screen time of almost 20% for both children and adults in Singapore during the pandemic. The excessive use of devices constitutes near work, which has been proven to be associated with myopia. Hence, parents should take note of the following behaviours that could indicate vision problems:

1. Squinting

Have you ever noticed your child squinting his eyes, struggling to see something in front of him? Squinting is a natural reaction in an attempt to see things clearly, as it helps improve the vision momentarily. By squinting, we create a pinhole effect by allowing only a small amount of light into the eye, hence resulting in a clearer image [1]. If you catch your child squinting, he/she could be compensating for poor vision and should have their vision checked. 

2. Sitting too close to the television or holding devices too close

The general rule of thumb is to be at least 5 times the distance from the screen as the screen is wide. If your child is sitting abnormally close to the television [2], holding his device way too close, or lowering his head while reading, it could be a sign of nearsightedness, or myopia.

Nearsighted children have clear vision at a close range and blurry vision at a distance. By moving the closer to the objects, it brings the object to their focal point and makes the image bigger [3]. If you catch your child moving closer to objects, it may be time for an eye examination, as vision problems may become worse with time if uncorrected.

3. Rubbing eyes excessively

Excessive eye rubbing may be an indication of eye fatigue or strain and can be a sign of many vision problems. Rubbing our eyes also has negative consequences and serious repercussions on our eyes, especially if we have pre-existing eye conditions like myopia and glaucoma [4] .

4. Tilting the head

Children may tilt their heads to adjust the angle of vision to compensate for eye misalignments. This could be a sign of muscle imbalance or amblyopia, also known as lazy eye [5]. They tilt their heads to relieve the strain on their eyes and/or minimise their double vision. At times, they could also tilt their heads to correct a refractive error by squinting [6].

5. Covering one eye

Your child could be covering one eye if he/she has better vision in one eye and poorer vision in the other. They could be covering the eye with the poorer vision, so that it does not affect the vision while they look at something. Covering one eye could be a sign of double vision or other vision problems. If uncorrected, it could increase the risk of developing amblyopia. 

Schedule the next eye examination for your child today

You can simply locate, book and manage your next appointment with plano Eyecheck, a user-friendly online platform that connects families in Singapore to their nearest optometrists. You can make an appointment for a variety of eye care services, including comprehensive eye check-ups and myopia control consultations.

Prevention is always better than cure! It is recommended to do a comprehensive eye examination annually to help diagnose any undetected vision problems. If your child has never done an eye examination, it’s not too late to book an appointment here.

References:
[1] Invision. (2014, July 8). Why Do I See Better When I Squint? https://www.invision2020.com/see-better-squint/#:%7E:text=A%20small%20amount%20of%20the,the%20eye%20as%20you%20squint.&text=Basically%20only%20a%20small%20amount,The%20result%20is%20better%20vision.
[2] Bedinghaus, T. (2019, June 24). Can a Close TV Damage Your Eyes? Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/ideal-distance-for-tv-viewing-4153791
[3] Bedinghaus, T. (2020, May 7). Signs Your Child Might Need Glasses. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/top-signs-your-child-needs-vision-correction-3421600
[4] SimonEye. (2018, December 19). Why You Shouldn’t Rub Your Eyes. Simon Eye Associates. https://www.simoneye.com/eye-care/why-you-shouldnt-rub-your-eyes/#:~:text=Potential%20Damage,other%20part%20of%20your%20body.[5] Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Amblyopia (Lazy Eye). Retrieved July 14, 2020, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/amblyopia-lazy-eye
[6] American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. (2018, August). Abnormal Head Position. https://aapos.org/glossary/abnormal-head-position
[7] Bedinghaus, T. (2020, May 7). Signs Your Child Might Need Glasses. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/top-signs-your-child-needs-vision-correction-3421600

Shedding some light on blue light – what it is, where does it come from, and does your little one really really need a pair of blue light glasses?

What is Blue Light?

It’s not light that’s coloured blue, but it’s a type of light that contains high amounts of energy and it’s everywhere around us. Yes, you’re exposed to it every single day! You’ve probably heard that blue light is emitted from our smart devices like phones and tablets but did you know blue light is also found indoors and outdoors? Blue light is emitted by the sun and even indoor lights give off blue light to a certain extent.

In the digital age, we’re constantly looking at our screens which increases our exposure to blue light. Unfortunately, our eyes actually don’t filter our blue light all that well. Blue light can pass through the different parts of our eye and reach the retina. As a result, it can contribute to digital eye strain (DES) and even macular degeneration.

However, not all blue light is bad! While overexposure to blue light can lead to detrimental vision conditions, it actually also helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycle! So at the end of the day, what’s concerning about blue light is the amount that we’re being exposed to. That’s why it’s important to manage and moderate our exposure to blue light.

The introduction of blue light glasses.

blue light glasses

Living in the 21st Century obviously necessitates smart device-use, especially for our children. Gone are the days when homework was just a pencil and a workbook. Now, homework has gone digital, class discussions can take place through video conferencing, and projects can be completed online. This is just the tip of the ice berg. Our children use their smart devices for so many other purposes, doubling or even tripling their screen time and increasing their exposure to blue light. Too much blue light and they could face vision conditions like DES and face trouble falling asleep.

Enter: blue light glasses. Some parents have turned to blue light glasses in a bid to filter it out. The lenses of these glasses block out the transmission of some of the light’s wavelengths. When this happens, the lenses help to reduce DES and avoid disrupting the sleep/wake cycle.

But does your child really need them?

It really depends on the average time your child spends on his/her screens. If your child spends a lot of time staring at the screen – be it for school or for entertainment – you might want to consider getting him/her a pair of blue light glasses. However, that doesn’t necessarily remove the root of the problem which is your child’s screen time.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), your child should adhere to the following screen time guidelines:

  • 0-2 year olds: no screen time at all
  • 2-5 year olds: 1 hour of screen time a day
  • 5 and above: A little more screen time can be introduced, but moderately. No more than a few hours of screen time a day.

Managing your child’s screen time will be sure to nip the problem in the bud and you won’t have to find him/her a pair of blue light glasses. You can do this with the help of parental control apps like plano.

Plano helps to monitor your child’s device use and reminds your child to take regular breaks from the screens every 30 minutes. As a parent, you can also use the planoApp to schedule no-device times. For instance, if your child is not allowed to use his/her phone during dinner time, you can use the plano app to lock his/her device during those hours.

If your child follows these prompts and reminders in the plano app, he/she can earn points! These points can then be used in the planoShop* to request for device-free activities.

We can’t refuse our children screens in this day and age, but we can help them manage their screen time. In turn, we help to reduce their exposure to blue light which lowers their risk of DES and other vision conditions. Our children only have one pair of eyes, let’s help protect them.

*Only available to Singapore plano users.

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to preventing myopia from progressing.

Zooming into the issue.

Myopia, also known as near-sightedness, is one of the most prevalent vision conditions plaguing the world today. It is caused by the elongation of the eyeball which prevents light from focusing properly on the retina. As a result, distant objects will appear blurry.

Alarmingly, half the world is estimated to contract the visual disease by 2050. One of the biggest risk factors associated to myopia progression is prolonged near work activity, especially on screens.

Living in the digital age necessitates the use of screens and our children are being introduced to them earlier and earlier. As their vision is still developing, it’s no surprise that our young ones are the most vulnerable to myopia. Being parents of these digital natives, it’s important to help them manage their screen time and prevent myopia from progressing. But before we do that, it’s necessary to debunk some myths you may have heard about preventing myopia from progressing:

1. Myopia is curable, so there’s no need to worry about my child even if he/she gets myopia. He/She can just go for LASIK surgery when he/she is older.

You’ve probably heard of LASIK surgery as a means to attain clear vision. Now, while it is true that LASIK can help you enjoy clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses, the surgery itself does not change the structure of your eye.

As mentioned earlier, myopia is caused by the elongation of the eyeball. LASIK does not change this. What happens instead is that during the surgery, a laser will be used to only on the front part (the cornea) of the eye to help you obtain that clear vision. If your child has myopia and decides to undergo LASIK surgery, the shape of the internal structure of his/her eyeball will still remain the same. This means that your child’s eyes will still be susceptible to myopia even after LASIK surgery if he/she doesn’t take care of them.

2. I should delay my child from wearing glasses in order to improve his/her vision.

This is completely false. If your child requires prescriptive spectacles or corrective lenses to help them see clearly, they should wear them as soon as they can. This is to ensure that your child will be able to go about his/her daily activities with the clearest vision possible. Delaying spectacles or corrective lenses can put your child at a greater risk – it could lead to an incomplete development of your child’s eyes and even worsen your child’s existing myopia condition.

3. There’s no point in going for an eye exam if my child’s eyesight is perfect. He/she definitely isn’t at risk of myopia.

Even if your child has perfect eyesight, you should still bring him/her for an annual comprehensive eye exam. As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’. Just like how you would regularly bring your child to the dentist to check for cavities, make it a point to bring your child for an annual eye check as well. While your child’s eyes may not be at risk of myopia now. that doesn’t mean they never will be.

Getting your child’s eyes checked regularly at an optometrist can help to identify any vision problems that your child may be experiencing early. If found, your optometrist can help administer treatment in order to prevent vision conditions like myopia from developing further.

What else can we do to prevent myopia from progressing?

Now that you know more about the steps you can take to help prevent myopia from progressing in your child, how do you deal with pesky screen time? We can’t completely deny them of it (especially with schools pivoting towards digital learning in this age), but we can help them manage it.

Consider downloading parental control apps like plano into your child’s devices. The plano app reminds your child to take regular eye breaks every 30 minutes and to place their phone at a safe distance from their eyes. Additionally, it reminds your child to use their phone in the correct lighting conditions. If your child follows all the prompts in the app, he/she will earn points which they can use to request for outdoor activities from the plano Shop*.

With the help of plano, you don’t have to worry about constantly looking over your child’s shoulder to check on his/her device use. In fact, you can just sit back and relax while plano helps you monitor your child’s screen time and prevent myopia from progressing.

Armed and ready? Fight myopia today!

Our little ones are growing up with screens and it’s more critical than ever that we help them establish a healthy relationship with their devices. With screen time on the rise, so is myopia. Now that you know a little bit more about myopia prevention, you can start protecting your child’s eyes starting today!

*Only available to Singapore plano users.

In 2016, researchers at the American Academy of Ophthalmology published a study predicting that 50% of the world’s population will suffer from myopia (or short-sightedness) in 2050 (1).

While this statistic sounds shocking, it can give us valuable insight into how we can prepare our kids to preserve their eye health in the digital age. Here are a few suggestions.

Why are myopia levels on the rise?

Myopia is a disorder of the eye that affects people’s ability to see distant objects. It most often develops as a result of spending too much time looking at near objects (e.g. a smartphone screen) which puts a lot of strain on our eyes and can cause them to elongate.  This elongation affects the eye’s ability to focus light rays onto the retina, and therefore translate visual information into an image in the brain. This causes far away objects to appear blurry, a telltale sign of myopia. 

As smart devices become more and more integral to our daily lives, we have started to spend more and more time looking at screens, or “near objects”.

It is not uncommon for someone in the developing world to spend eight hours a day at a computer for work or school and then relax in the evenings in front of a TV or smart device. While these devices make life wonderfully convenient and entertaining, they can take a toll on our eye health when used excessively.

As we bring our kids into a world that is becoming increasingly digitalized, it is important that we establish boundaries and teach them how to “switch off”. This will protect not only their eye health, but also the likelihood of them developing a variety of conditions linked to technology, including smartphone addiction and dry eye symptom.

How can I protect my kids from developing myopia?

Myopia typically develops between the ages of 7 and 13 (2). This means that teaching your child how to protect their eyes now will save them a whole lot of pain in the future.

So how can you establish a healthy relationship with technology in your child? Here are three top tips:

1. Regular breaks 

Encourage your kids to take a screen break every 30 minutes. As mentioned earlier, excessive screen time and near work activity are contributing factors of myopia. Regular eye breaks can help reduce the strain and stress on the eye.

To save having to monitor your child 24/7, download plano. This parental control app runs in the background of their smart device and reminds them to take a break every half an hour.

2. Take them outside

Research shows that spending at least 2 hours outdoors  is linked to reduced levels of myopia in children (see figure 1).  You can go for family walks or even sign them up to weekly activities, such as soccer lessons or forestry school.

Figure 1: link between light exposure and change in axial length of eye [1].

3. Visit the optometrist regularly

When left untreated, myopia can develop into high myopia which sometimes results in complete vision loss. For this reason, optometrists recommend getting your kids eyes tested at least once a year.

Not good at keeping track of doctor’s appointments? No problem! Plano’s inbuilt eye check system keeps track of past trips to the optometrist and reminds you when it’s time to go again.

Why it’s important to protect your kids from myopia.

Being a parent in the 21st century is no easy task. It sometimes feels as if we must be on our toes 24/7 to ensure our kids develop into happy and healthy people. While it may seem that eye health is just another worry to add to the long list of parental responsibilities, taking action now will make life easier for you and your kids in the future.

And rest assured that you’re not alone! plano will help you every step of the way, whether it’s keeping track of your child’s screen use, or reminding you when to see the optometrist, plano has it under control!

Like any purchase that you intend to make, you need to do your research. Here’s comprehensive list of things you need to note when buying your child his/her first pair of glasses.

Clear vision to see the world clearly.

For our little ones, it’s essential that they understand the need for them to wear glasses. Being parents, we need to calmly explain to them why glasses are helpful for their eyes. It’s not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about. In fact, it’s a great first step in taking care of their eyes and preventing vision conditions like myopia from progressing.

One of the many firsts in life.

When it’s time for your child to get his/her first pair of glasses, you might be wondering where to start and how to make the best decision. Well, there are a variety of factors that come into play when choosing the right pair for them. Here are 5 tips to know of when finding that perfect first one:

1. Know the prescription

First and foremost, it’s important to know why your child is getting glasses before you actually purchase them. Arrange a short consultation with your optometrist and ask him/her about your child’s vision health. Remember to also ask if there are any medications that your child would have to take in addition to wearing glasses. Thereafter, your optometrist will guide you through the process on how they will go about making the lenses and when you can collect them.

2. Getting that perfect fit

Just like a pair of jeans, you’d want your child’s first pair of spectacles to be neither too tight, or too loose. They have to be just right. In fact, one of the toughest parts about choosing a pair of spectacles for your little one is selecting a suitable frame for them. You would want the bridge to fit perfectly to prevent any discomfort. Examine each frame as thoroughly as possible to ensure there aren’t any gaps between the bridge of the spectacle frame, and the bridge of your child’s nose. You will likely need the help of your optometrist to measure this for your child.

3. Got a hunch they might need a hinge?

For some of our younger ones, they might encounter difficulty putting on and taking off their glasses which could potentially lead to some hefty repairs. To prevent this, you can consider getting hinges on your child’s glasses. These hinges are placed at the back of the glasses and wrap comfortably around your child’s ears. They help to hold the spectacles in place and prevents it for slipping off if your child engages in any rigorous activities.

4. Material matters

Remember, your child is going to be using these pair of glasses for a long time to come. So besides fit and comfort, you’re child is going to need a good pair of lenses to see through. Children’s spectacles are usually made of polycarbonate as this material is relatively more durable than other types of lens materials.

Try to avoid purchasing glass material lenses, though. While glass is typically more scratch resistant than polycarbonate, glass lenses are more fragile and this could pose as a safety concern for our little ones. Moreover, glass lenses are much heavier than polycarbonate lenses which may be more uncomfortable.

5. Get a backup

In the unfortunate event that your child accidentally breaks or loses his/her glasses, you’re going to want to have a spare on hand – especially if your child needs them to see clearly. While you’re at the optometry shop picking out your child’s first pair of glasses, do ask if there are discounts for a second pair. This way, you’re not only prepared for the unforeseen, but you might also get a bang for your buck – a win-win!

Before you cash in for a new pair of glasses for your child, it’s important to consult your optometrist to get a clear understanding about your little one’s eye health. Children’s eyes develop quickly, so it’s important to attend annual eye exams to keep track of their visual development. Book a comprehensive eye exam today at planoeyecheck.com!

“You’ll get wrinkles!” “Your eyesight will worsen!” “It’ll give you panda eyes!” Sound familiar? You may have grown up hearing this and may even be citing these very reasons to warn your kids against rubbing their eyes.

However, is rubbing our eyes as bad as our parents and grandparents made it out to be? What are the real consequences of rubbing your eyes

But it’s so satisfying!

Why does something so bad for you feel so right?

When we rub our eyes, tears are secreted to lubricate and clean out foreign particles, providing temporary relief. The action also stimulates the vagus nerve, triggering a relaxation response to slow heart rate, and reduce stress.

Since rubbing our eyes is so soothing, it’s hard to believe that it can cause much harm.

Here’s why it can put you through a world of pain.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Have you realized you can’t stop rubbing your eyes once you start? This is because eye rubs release histamine, a chemical which aggravates the itch and compels us to rub more and harder!

When we rub our eyes, the force applied to our eyeballs increases eye pressure. To put things into perspective, a light rub doubles the pressure – make-up removal or wiping away tears nudges it up by a bit more. If we scrunch up our eyes and rub aggressively with our knuckles, the eye pressure shoots up tremendously by 20 times.

Usually, the eye pressure will return to normal quickly with no visible long-term damage, but frequent rubbing may bring about more serious consequences, especially for those with pre-existing eye conditions.

What happens if you rub your eyes too much

Here are some repercussions of eye rubbing:

1. Dark eye circles. Yes, it’s true! Excessive rubbing ruptures delicate blood vessels surrounding the eyes, leading to skin discoloration and those unsightly circles under your eyes.

2. Wrinkles. The skin surrounding the eyes loses elasticity, resulting in a droopy and wrinkled appearance.

3. Eye infection. Rubbing introduces bacteria on the hands to the eyes, risking infection.

4. Corneal abrasion. Potential irritants present on the surface of the eyes will cause more damage to the eye when rubbed.

The solution?

Before we try to kick the habit, it is necessary to recognize why we do it in the first place.

Culprit #1: Digital eye strain

The fix: Take 15 min breaks for every 2 hours of device use and ensure the device is at a suitable distance away from the eyes (30cm for phones/tablets and 60cm for computers). Use anti-glare screens and reduce overhead lighting when possible.

Culprit #2: Dry eye (a symptom of digital eye strain)

The fix: Use artificial tears or place a warm towel over your eyes.

Culprit #3: Allergies

The fix: Identify potential allergens and avoid them if possible or use eye drops.

Culprit #4: Eyelid inflammation (Blepharitis)

The fix: Wash eyelids with eyelid wipes or tear-free soap to remove debris and reduce irritation.

Culprit #5: Contact lens wear

The fix: Remove the lenses and consult an eye doctor for remedies.*

Prevention is better than cure

Beyond health repercussions, rubbing your eyes constantly can develop into a bad habit that can be hard to kick. When it comes to our children, there is no time like the present to stop them from touching their eyes.  It can be hard but remember, a gentle reminder today goes a long way for their eye health!

We created Plano Eyecheck, an easy-to-use online platform to connect families in Singapore to their nearest optometrist. Locate, book, and manage your appointments for a variety of eye care services, including comprehensive eye check ups and myopia control consultations

*Plano Eyecheck is currently in Singapore with plans to expand internationally to close the loop for eye care service delivery worldwide.

Singapore is known as the myopia capital of the world. We have one of the highest rates of short-sightedness. In fact, as it stands, 11% of pre-schoolers in Singapore have myopia.

This number increases to 50% in primary school and further increases to a staggering 80% by the time they enter the workforce as young adults.

You’ll need capital (and a lot of it) to manage your child’s myopia effectively

Aside from affecting our visions, myopia can also hurt our wallets.

1 in 4 children develop short-sightedness in Primary 1 at 7 years old. Assuming your child gets diagnosed with myopia when they enter primary school and decides to get a corrective procedure, for instance, LASIK, when they are older at 21 years old, (that’s 14 years of treating and managing myopia), you will likely spend on:

  1. Spectacles
  2. Contact lenses
  3. Corrective procedures (e.g. LASIK)
  4. Eye checks

Here’s a cost breakdown.

Spectacles

For most of us, soon after our children are diagnosed with myopia, the first order of business is to get a pair of spectacles fitted.

There’s a wide range of frames and lenses available locally. You can easily get more affordable options below $100 or splurge on higher-end options for around $600. 

Besides that, depending on whether your child has other prevailing eye conditions like astigmatism or far-sightedness, you will also need to take into account the need for lens customization. Blue light filter add-ons also account for additional costs.

Presumably, you spend an average of $125 on each pair of spectacles for your child and change them every 2 years. This means your child would require approximately 14 ÷ 2 = 7 pairs of glasses from age 7 to 21.

Total spectacle cost over 14 years = $125 x 7 = $875

Contact lenses

Along the way, as your child starts getting more active and involved in extracurricular activities, be it sports CCAs or regular PE lessons, he/she may want to switch to wearing contact lenses for convenience or even for vanity purposes.

On average, children in Singapore start wearing contacts at 13 years old.

Suppose your child starts wearing contact lenses in secondary school at 13 years old. Then, you’ll have to mull over the type of contact lenses to get your child: Daily? Biweekly? Monthly? Or even yearly?

Here are some of the estimated costs (normal contact lenses only) *derived from W Optics online shop.

Do note that these are just basic disposable lenses without correction for astigmatism or far-sightedness; custom-made ones would definitely be pricier. Not forgetting, contacts require regular cleaning with contact lens solution (read: extra cost) to prevent eye infection.

Assuming your child prefers monthly contacts to daily ones, you will need to purchase around a staggering 8 x 12 = 96 pairs to last them from age 13 to 21!

Total cost of contact lenses over 8 years = $27 x 96 = $2,592

Corrective procedures (e.g. LASIK)

When your child reaches adulthood, their eye prescription stabilizes. Eventually, they may find glasses or contacts bothersome and consider going for a refractive surgery such as LASIK (a form of laser eye surgery) to correct their myopia.

This could be the most bank-breaking part for an individual with myopia. There are different kinds of corrective procedures for different eye conditions in the market, but LASIK remains the most popular choice to correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Note: minimum age to undergo LASIK is 18 years old.

For LASIK, the price ranges from $3,500 to $6,000 depending on the type of procedure and the clinic you engage.

Total cost of corrective procedures = $4,750 (average)

Eye checks

Last but not least, having your child attend regular and comprehensive eye checks can help identify vision problems, including myopia, early. This is absolutely key in managing their eye conditions and to prevent them from deteriorating further. 

In fact, even after your child is diagnosed with myopia and is prescribed with spectacles, regular follow-up eye checks can help in monitoring their myopia progression and ensures that their spectacles provide adequate correction.

Apart from routine eye examinations conducted in schools, your child may require extra spectacle prescriptions and contact lens fitting sessions, which may be provided free-of-charge or for a small fee by opticians in optical shops. For comprehensive eye tests, prices may range from $35 to $125.

SingHealth recommends children between the ages of 3 to 20 to go for comprehensive eye checks every 1 to 2 years. The American Optometric Association also advocates for eye checks every 2 years for adults.

Following the guidelines, your child would make at least 14 ÷ 2 = 7 visits to the optometrist between 7 to 21 years old.

Total cost of optometrist visits over 14 years = 7 x $80 (average) = $560

Let’s consolidate.

So… How much exactly?

If your child has myopia, you’ll rack up approximately:

That’s equivalent to about a year’s worth of university fees!

Taking a preventive stance

Children who develop myopia at an early age are at risk of high myopia later in life, which can lead to debilitating vision problems like glaucoma, cataract, retina tears and muscular degeneration and even blindness.

It is crucial to bring children for regular eye checks to help with early detection of any potential issues. Book your eye check appointments here.

Parents should cultivate good eye care habits in their children from young, especially in this digital age. That’s exactly why we at Plano have developed a science-based parental control app to help you manage your child’s screen time and protect their eyesight with an engaging points-based reward system. Download the app here to start promoting eyedeal habits in your child today!

Beyond that, remember to take your kids to get regular and timely comprehensive eye tests.

We created Plano Eyecheck, an easy-to-use online platform to connect families in Singapore to their nearest optometrist. Locate, book and manage your appointments for a variety of eye care services, including comprehensive eye check-ups and myopia control consultations here.

*Plano Eyecheck is currently in Singapore with plans to expand internationally to close the loop for eye care service delivery worldwide.

Given the circumstances that we’re living in at the moment, it’s no surprise to go about our daily activities wearing a mask. Whether we’re at the supermarket or taking our dogs out for a walk, wherever we go, the mask goes along too. Wearing a mask is now a common sight and along with it comes a new complaint: Wearing a mask fogs up our glasses.

Why do our glasses fog up when we wear a mask?

You might first be wondering why our glasses fog up when we put on a mask in the first place. 

People who wear glasses experience the fogging when there is a sudden change of temperature, like stepping down from an air-conditioned bus and into the warm outdoor air. When we wear a mask, the warm and moist air that we exhale is escaping through the top edges and travelling to our glasses. This forms a layer of condensation on the cooler lens surface and hence, a foggy film.

This can cause our vision to blur which makes for a very annoying condition. Having to wear a mask out is already a chore, but for all of us wearing glasses, it’s another thing to worry about. The need to wipe your glasses every few minutes, especially if your hands are full, is definitely a struggle. Here, we have a few tips and tricks to help you resolve the problem.

How can you stop the fog?

1. Wash your glasses with soapy water

According to a published paper in 2011, washing your glasses with soapy water and allowing them to air-dry, or gently drying them with a soft tissue, can help. The soapy water leaves behind a thin surfactant film that stops the water molecules from forming droplets that causes the fog. This is a simple hack to try out just before you step out of the door.

2. Tape your mask down

You can seal the top of your mask around the bridge of your nose by taping it down with sports or medical tape. Do not use tape that is not meant to be on the skin and do test out the tape beforehand especially if you have sensitive skin. The tape will hold your mask down securely while preventing the warm breath from escaping through the top.

3. Mold your mask

Most surgical masks have a metal strip at the top to help you make sure that it is molded tightly to the bridge of your nose. This helps to direct exhaled breath away from your glasses. You can also add pipe cleaners or twist ties to your homemade fabric masks to achieve similar effects.

4. Tighten the mask

Adjust the ear loops to ensure that the mask fits snugly against your face. You can simply make a knot at the ear loops to make it tighter. Do not twist or criss-cross the ear loops as this will create a wide gap at the sides of the mask.

Now that you know these tips and tricks to stop your glasses from fogging, you have one less thing to worry about when you head outdoors today!