No one would like to be on medication for long period of time, let alone a 10 year old boy.
Ever since Kitkit started wearing spectacles years ago, I noticed that he gives the optometrist (regardless from which optical shop) a very hard time, whenever he visits the optical shop. Watching the optometrist adding higher power lens to the frame, during testing and yet Kitkit still continued to give incorrect answers to what he sees on the wall, has become a growing concern.
Two weeks ago, we went to Nanyang Optical and tried to test his myopia again. After testing for a very long time , with Kitkit giving the same problem, the optometrist suggested that we visit Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) for a thorough eye check.
When I called SNEC right after we left Nanyang Optical, we were given a choice to decide if we would want to go for the subsidised rate or not.
When it comes to health issues, we prefer NOT to procrastinate. We chose NOT to wait and opt to for the NON-Subsidised rate.
Once again, the Optometrist at SNEC also had a hard time finding Kitkit’s exact eye power. After hearing from the Optometrist, the eye doctor at SNEC believed that Kitkit has extremely active eye muscles, hence every blink of the eye gives a different refraction test result.
This special eyedrop treatment is called Cycloplegic Refraction.
It was a torture for Kitkit during those few minutes sitting outside the room, waiting for his turn to get the special eyedrops into his eyes.
The nurses told us that he needs to stop crying first before they could drip the special eyedrops for him or else the tears will wash the eyedrops out of his eyes.
Kitkit’s vision became blurred and his pupils were dilated after the first drip.
After the last eyedrop was dripped into Kitkit’s eyes, we had to sit around and wait for more than 30mins for the eye muscles to be in a fully relaxed state before entering the Optometrist room again for the 2nd test.
It was a great sigh of relief when the Optometrist called Kitkit’s name after the long wait.
After the Optometrist completed the test, we waited outside another room to wait for the eye doctor to call for Kitkit for the final consultation.
The eye doctor said that Kitkit’s myopia progression was considered fast over the span of 1 year.
Thus the eye doctor suggested Atropine for Kitkit for the next 2 years.
Atropine eyedrops are used to retard myopia progression. The eye doctor suggested to use Atropine because Kitkit’s myopia increases rapidly despite my child had been observing healthy eye habits. I limit my kids to 30 mins on electronic devices with a timer beside them, have daily outdoor activities with them, made sure that they relax their eyes after 30-40mins of near work, ensure that they do not slouch when on the couch, so that the height of the TV screen is at their eye level or lower.
Despite all those efforts made, Kitkit’s myopia progression was still too fast. According to the researchers, myopia can develop as early as kindergarten age and can progress rapidly during Primary School years. However, myopia progression typically slows down during the teenage years and stabilizes by early adulthood.
Atropine eyedrop is NOT a new or experimental drug. Eye doctors have been using it for many years in the treatment of a variety of eye conditions found in children such as lazy eye and squint. In fact, Atropine has been prescribed for myopia in children since the 1960s.
Kitkti was prescribed with the Low-Dose (0.01%) Atropine. Research showed that this low-dose Atropine has proven to be effective in slowing myopia by 50-60% over a 2 year period, and with very little side-effects. The effect of low-dose Atropine appears to be better in the second than first year. As low-dose Atropine causes only minimal increase in pupil size, thus will NOT allow as much light into the eye, causing glare and blurring of near vision, as compared to the higher-dose (1.0%) Atropine.
As such, low-dose Atropine is safer and more comfortable eyedrop to use than high-dose atropine. However, some myopia progression may still occur, and if this is still rapid, then the eye doctor may need to prescribe higher-dose of Atropine. I HOPE THIS DAY will NEVER come!
The decision to use Atropine is therefore a balance between the known short-term benefits of reduction in myopia progression and the as yet known risk of long-term ocular problems from the use of Atropine. By controlling the progression of myopia in children will thereby decrease the risk of blinding myopia-related eye problems in future. The long-term risks of low-dose Atropine, however, are expected to be less than higher-dose Atropine.
We accepted the eye doctor’s suggestion because I do NOT want Kitkit to ever reach MY HIGH MYOPIA of 1000.
The damage for those 2 over hours in SNEC was $149.80, WITHOUT including the cost of the tiny bottle of low-dose Atropine.
Our order was placed on 22nd November 2013, the day we visited SNEC.
Meaning, for the next 2 years, I will need to set an alarm to remind myself to go to SNEC on the 26th of every month to collect Kitkit’s small bottle of low-dose Atropine. Forgetfulness is not acceptable in this case as he needs to be on it EVERY NIGHT before he sleeps; as there will NOT be any reminder phone-call from SNEC. *pout*
We have started KitKit on the low-dose Atropine on 26th. The first few nights were horrible. He’s FEAR of having water in his eyes was overwhelming.
The cost of EACH bottle of low-dose Atropine is $16 inclusive of GST.
On top of that, Kitkit was scheduled to go to SNEC often for regular checkup, to check how well his eyes are responding to the low-dose Atropine and his myopia progression.
To protect his eyes further, the eye doctor wants Kitkit to wear PHOTOCHROMATIC lens for his new pair of spectacles.
So expect to see Kitkit wearing his 5th pair of spectacles (since 2010) in the next blog post…..
My Child on Atropine for 2 Years