Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sean attempts P6 Science :)

Brian was midway through his Science homework and it was time for his bath. When he came out, he shouted, "Sean!" and proceeded to show me what Sean had written on his Science homework.

I said, "So is it trachea?" Brian says it's not called trachea in P6 syllabus, but windpipe. Fussy korkor. As for diaphragm, Sean's spelling Diaphagram is at least some improvement from how he pronounced the word two years ago!


A couple of weeks ago, I was going through Brian's Science paper and found his answer to the following question to be unsatisfactory. Of course I wouldn't know the real answer myself, but I just felt it was not 'scientific' or comprehensive enough.

It was a diagram of the digestive system and the question was: Why is it important that digested food is absorbed into the bloodstream? [1 mark question]

Brian: If digested food is not absorbed into the bloodstream, the body will not be able to use the food.

Sean passed by and I called him in and asked him the question, he thought for 2 seconds and said: If digested food is not absorbed into the bloodstream, the cells will not get the food and they cannot work for the body.

I thought Sean's answer was actually better.

The real answer though is: The digested food has to be absorbed into the bloodstream to interact with oxygen to release energy for the body to do work and sustain life processes.

Very difficult leh...

Good news and Bad news

Took the boys to the dentist yesterday, their first visit since last summer. The good news was that neither of them has a cavity. To protect against decay however, the dentist used sealants on Brian's permanent molars.

See how tense Sean looks here. Sean's milk teeth are all still intact and he turns 7 in 10 days. A few are already shaky. One lower permanent tooth is growing behind a milk tooth. The bad news is he has big teeth growing where his currently very tiny teeth are. Result: Crooked teeth. The dentist took an x-ray and we could see huge teeth trying to find their way out. Chances are he'll need braces when he's older. :(

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quest for perfect vision: The Ortho-k solution

This post is probably more relevant to those who have kids with rapidly-increasing myopia. It is my experience with my two si-mak-gao(4-eyes)boys.


When Sean first had his eyesight tested in London, we were shocked to find out his degree was 350/175! He was only 4 and a half years old then. Brian started wearing glasses in K2, and his degree was around 200.

For the past two years or so, the boys have been put on Atropine theraphy (eye drops), and they saw an eye specialist from Mount E whenever we were back in Singapore. However, Sean's degree continued to increase, very rapidly, despite increasing the dosage of atropine. I was changing glasses for him on every visit back home. As for Brian, he assured me he was seeing well with his year plus old glasses of 475 degrees, so I continued using atropine on him and did not bother to bring him to the eye specialist for the half yearly checkups (expensive lah!).

On Sean's last visit to the specialist earlier this year, his degree continued to increase and new glasses were made, his degree was about 550 on the right side. PANIC! I administered atropine daily. Then when we got back to Singapore, I noticed him squeezing his eyes when watching tv again, and my heart dropped. I knew his degree had gone up again. Was at a loss and was reluctant to continue going to the eye specialist when there was no effect.

Thanks to Chris, a mom who reads this blog, I found out about her experience with Ortho-K lens, a hard lens that is used in the night to shape the cornea. For children with myopia up to 500, this may mean that they would not need glasses during the day. Not having to wear glasses is a bonus, but the main objective here is to address the increase in myopia. This is a reversible process, and you are not cured of myopia, the myopia returns to what it was if you stop wearing your lens for a week or so.

Starting on Ortho-K isn't a simple thing to do. Numerous visits to the optometrist is required during the first few weeks and up to a couple of months, so there was no way we could have done this when we were still in Moscow. Seeing that we would be here for some time, I took the opportunity to consult with the optometrist. We went to Mee Mee Optics in Park Mall, recommended by Chris (Thanks again!).

The optometrist Shawn confirmed my fears, Sean's degree had indeed gone up again within the last few months, and was 650/450 and astig of 175. Ouch!! Heart pain...pain...pain. Sean was really keen to try Ortho-K and kept asking me when we would be visiting the optometrist when I first told him about this. He was getting really worried about his degree as it had exceeded Brian's of 475.

At the shop, he bravely tried the trial pair of hard lens and in two tries, the lens was in. No problem, even though I was told it is really, really uncomfortable. As I had run out of options, I decided to order the lens. They're very expensive, $1600 a pair inclusive of consultation. Replacement pair is $800 every two years.

The lens arrived in about a week, and this was his progress:
Start degree: 650/450
After 1 day: 550/400
After 4 days: 425/375
After 10 days: 275/225
And today, after 30 days: 200/150

His astigmatism dropped slightly from 175 to 150.

The optometrist is ordering a new lens (free) and we'll see if there's further improvement. But the change has been so positive for Sean. No longer is he hunting around for his glasses every morning like a myopic badger and his eyes are brighter too.

Money worth spending? YES!


Now on to Brian. Remember Brian had told me that he was fine and his 475 deg spectacles were just great for him. I tried to convince him to go for Ortho-K as it could mean not having to wear spectacles, but he did not want to. After Sean had been on Ortho-K for about 10 days, and I had seen the remarkable progress, I tried to convince Brian again. He finally said okay, probably to get me off his case.

When the optometrist checked his eyes, golly! we got a SHOCK! The boy has been going around with undercorrected spectacles for dunno how long. His degree was actually 675!!! I badgered him with incessant, "WHY in the world did you not say anything???" He replied that he was fine. Okay, never mind, we decided he needed Ortho-K as well. The good news was that his astigmatism was minimal so his progress could be better than Sean's.

Indeed it was.

Start degree: 675/675
After 1 day: 475/450
After 4 days: 275/325
After 12 days: 100/0
After 17 days: 0/0

Amazing! In fact, Brian has been going without glasses after just a week of Ortho-K. He still has astigmatism of about 100, so Shawn is making him a new pair of glasses for him to wear if he finds it necessary.

Money worth spending? 1 million percent YES!


Yes, I regret spending so much time on Atropine when Ortho-K was available. But I was never in Singapore long enough to contemplate Ortho-K, so I'm thankful we finally made this decision. It wasn't an easy one to make, but thanks to the tonnes of research already done by other mothers like Chris and a few others at a mummies' forum (whose kids are also success Ortho-K cases), I went into this a lot more reassured. One Singapore mother in the US even drove 5 hours away to see their optometrist, her two boys had perfect vision within a couple of weeks. Such sacrifice.

I am so thankful for all the supportive mums out there who are willing to share their experiences. So this is mine, hopefully this helps someone out there.