Thursday 10 October 2019

Ortho-K with Videre Eyewear

The daughter reads a lot and extensively. It is impossible for her to get by a day without reading her novels. When we found out that she was myopic at the age of 9 with power of 200 degrees for both eyes, I was upset with ourselves for not taking better control of her eyes. Nagged and reminded, reading habits just don't change. It is insane when she brags about being myopic due to reading, and not screen time *Face palm*. Oh well, this is Singapore where being myopic is prevalent. Truth is, there's no cure, it can only be slowed down by managing the progression of myopia. Children with high myopia face a greater risk of developing other eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment at an earlier age in adulthood. All of them can lead to blindness.

We know it is some significant issue we are talking about now. 

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)

A year on from wearing glasses, Jazz is at power of 300 degrees for both eyes. We took a first step to one of the options of myopia management, Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) treatment. I hear of its presence in the recent years, but has never given it a thorough thought because we are talking about children and lenses! How well are these little hands able to handle them, and how safe is it for their eyes? It was not without worry before embarking on this journey and decision.

Putting on the lenses

Ortho-K are gas permeable contact lenses that are worn at night to sleep and will gently reshape the cornea to temporarily correct short-sightedness. Myopia occurs when the eyeball elongates. Ortho-k contact lenses apply pressure to the cornea, flatten it and reshape the cornea overnight. Next day, Jazz has unassisted clear vision that lasts for one full day. After which the cornea returns to its natural shape. It takes some time for the reshaping and adjusting of her cornea from the first night of wear, before clear vision kicks in. Within a week, she was able to achieve vision as like wearing her glasses. More precisely, on her 4th day. 

Results may vary for different users base on their eye power.

Teaching of routine

The Assessment and fitting

While we were very much sold by the benefits and convenience of Ortho-K, not every candidate is a good fit for it. A series of assessment needs to be done. Jazz had hers assessed with Videre Eyecare, where she received a comprehensive assessment of checking her vision health, eye measurements and eye abnormalities. Videre has a wide array of technology advanced diagnostic equipment for eye examinations. The lenses were customised based on the topographical map of her eye. After these assessments, we waited about 1.5 weeks for the made to order lenses to be ready.

Assess vision health

These were some necessary tests needed to analyse if she is a good candidate for Ortho-K. She was! But, there was a 'but'. Her vision may still not be 6/6 even after being on these lenses. Her pupil size is large and there is an uncorrected of power of 25 degrees. I don't know how to explain much on its technicality, but we felt it was not a considerable problem. I appreciated this piece of information being given to us up and foremost before we decided to commit. Some perfectionists may decide against the idea of proceeding.

People with astigmatism are eligible for Ortho-K too.

Measuring the length of the eye

The Hold Back

I had a long chat with their optometrists. Like any worrisome parent, I questioned much to get our assurance before committing. Jazz was definitely excited about the idea, but her parents were more cautious about the cleaning and having lenses in her eyes during sleep. They were very patient in ensuring all we needed to know about Ortho-K lenses. Ortho-K has been around for long, it has evolved to get better and safer throughout the decades. It is a non-surgery and non-invasive treatment for myopia control. A safe treatment which we need to be diligent about the cleaning process.

I guess what accelerated the decision was that the daughter was keen and motivated to embark on the journey. The motivating factor was strong to keep her constantly putting in effort with the lenses.

The Routine

It is a new routine for Jazz who will have to put on her hard lenses nightly before sleep and remove them the first instant she awakes. Honestly, it is a hassle to have these included into her routine, but the freedom of being glasses free during the day impelled her much. She does rhythmic gymnastics actively, and this brought her immense convenience during training and school hours. She is today convinced of all the effort's worth!

The putting of Ortho-K lenses was a challenge for her, as a first timer. It took her three nights to finally put them on like a seasoned user. I was only by her side on the first two nights, after which she is independently on her own, taking good care of the lenses. I must credit Videre team of optometrists for patiently guiding and encouraging her through the process. There was even a detailed step by step print given by them for bring home.

Assembling her accessories

The accessories needed along with her lenses include saline, eye drops, conditioning and cleaning solution as well as the case for storing the contact lenses and suction stick for removing the lenses. These are probably the ongoing costs of maintenance.   

We got Jazz to clean her lenses at her desk, instead of the sink. Knowing how expensive these lenses are, we cannot afford any terrifying ordeal of the lens getting washed down the sink. Accidents do happen.

Rest days are also introduced after the first few weeks of usage. For now, Jazz's eyes get to take a day of sabbath every 2 weeks. After which, she can take a day off every week for rest. The incentive day we call it.

The Follow up

Jazz collected her Ortho-K lenses on a Friday evening where she was aided to put the lenses on. She went home with the lenses, and it was the earliest night for her to call it a day. It was not easy, and got so uncomfortable that the only ease was to shut her eyes for sleep. 

We were taught how to remove the lenses the next morning on our own. I learnt it too, just so I can be of help. The next morning, on Saturday, we went back to Videre to get her eyes checked for any potential dryness and cornea condition after a night of wearing it. All was good! Follow ups are really important. I am glad that there are strict follow ups the initial weeks, after which a 6 monthly eye health examination. 

Removing of the lenses

Checking of eye health

The toughest problem the optometrist shared with us for Ortho-k users was not dealing with infections or eye related risks, but the calling back of Ortho-K users for follow up checks. This is surely not a problem with young users who are accompanied by parents, but teenagers refusing to go back for checks. By sharing this, I felt the genuineness and sincerity of their clients' vision health being their top concern. And they really do follow up closely with our appointments. Making sure we do not miss any.   

So yes, follow ups are important. It not only tracks progress, it can help detect problems early.  

How long does the lenses last?

Each pair of hard lenses is designed for a year of usage. If taken into good and gentle hands, lasting up to 1.5 or 2 years is not be an issue. The only change that may occur is the power of the eyes, if there is a change, the lenses need to change as well. 

Young users whose myopia progression has yet to stabalise will be recommended on Ortho-K for as long as they can, till they are about 18 or early 20s when their eye power has stabilised.


The initial pair of lenses cost the most. It is $2200 for this first pair of Jazz's lenses. As of this date. They range from about $2200 to $2800, depending on how complicated the issues are. Subsequent pairs will be at about 65% the initial pair. It may not be affordable as it sounds, but the convenience it outweighs is rewarding. There is so much joy being free from glasses. The daughter testifies that.

Ortho-K is great option for young children, and we hear children as young as 6 years old on Ortho-K! The younger the eyeball, the more capable it is of changing shape. Early intervention is the best. These lenses are also great for those who need vision correction but have difficulty with wearing glasses or traditional daily contact lenses. For people such as athletes, or those who work in a dusty or overly dry environment, Ortho-k makes all the difference! So yes, adults are good candidates too.

Videre at Forum

Various machines for tests

Huge shop space

We are very much contented to have Jazz's first pair of Ortho-K assessed and fitted at Videre Eyecare. Not only are their equipment comprehensive and up to date, seeking out a professional and reliable optometrist brings us much assurance too. 

These being said, always encourage our kids to cultivate good reading and screen habits. Head outdoor frequently for play! If myopia is a tough prevention, delay it at least.

And yes, she is one happy girl being freed from glasses!

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583 Orchard Road
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Singapore 238843
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