Does your child squint? Have you noticed something peculiar in the way he or she watches television? Are you worried about eye strain due to long hours of studies?

Our children’s precious little peepers can be affected by a number of common conditions. Fortunately, most can be easily corrected when treated early.

Dr Zena Lim, Visiting Consultant from the Department of Cataract and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service ​at Singapore National Eye Centre, gives detailed answers to your questions.


Question by vathanianban

Dear Dr,

My 10 years old son recently squint his eyes whenever he sees far object.

Last test done in July by Student Healh Centre did not indicate that he needs to wear glasses.

However, since last month I noticed he kept complaining he cant see what is written on the White Board in school. So I request the teacher to make him sit infront which helps him.

When I approach S.H.C to redo the test, they ask me to go optical shop and purchase the specticles.

Is all the Optical shop sales people are authorised to tell the exact degree or what are the problems the kid might face?

Pls advice. Appreciate your early reply.

Thank You.

Mag

Answered by Dr Zena Lim, Visiting Consultant Cataract and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service Singapore National Eye Centre

A more accurate way of testing for refractive errors (short-sightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism) is to instill eyedrops which weaken the eye’s focusing ability prior to checking the refractive error.

These drops can only be prescribed by an ophthalmologist. As such, prescription glasses for children that are obtained from optical shops may not be very accurate, particularly with younger children whose eyes have stronger focusing abilities.


Question by student

I am 11 years old, and just started wearing specs last month. My degree is already 200 and 225. I used to think it was cool, but Now I realize that it's so inconvenient to have to wear specs! Is there anything I can do to take away my degree problem so I don't have to wear specs anymore? Does this mean that my degree will keep increasing? What must I do to make sure my degree doesn't get even higher. Thanks doctor.

Answered by Dr Zena Lim, Visiting Consultant Cataract and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service Singapore National Eye Centre

Myopia (short-sightedness) tends to increase during childhood till the mid-teens, and subsequently stabilizes thereafter. For now, you may have to accept a gradual increase in your spectacle power. However, with good eye care habits such as relaxing your eyes after 30-40 mins of near or computer work, adequate lighting when reading and regular exercise outdoors, you may be able to prevent your spectacle power from rapidly worsening.


Question by peanutbutterpig

Dear Doc,

I am 19 years old and having been wearing glasses since kindergarden. my astigmatism is around 350 to 400. just wondering if there is anything that i can do to maintain it or anyway i can reduce it.

Also my right eye has been twitching for about 1 week now. Anything i can do? Pls advise, thanks.

Answered by Dr Zena Lim, CVisiting onsultant Cataract an Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service Singapore National Eye Centre

Astigmatism can be treated with glasses or contact lenses. These are simply alternatives to correct the blurring of vision associated with astigmatism. Alternatively, LASIK can be performed once you are age 21 or above to correct astigmatism.

Eyelid twitching is usually benign, especially if it occurs very infrequently. However, if it persists, do consult an ophthalmologist to rule out a condition known as blepharospasm.


Question by nelsontan

My son likes to play iPhone games especially when he is on train. If he stares at the LED screens of iPhone or nintendo 3ds for more than half an hour, will it affect his eyes (or eyesight)? What are the negative effects it has on his eyes?

Answered by Dr Zena Lim, Visiting Consultant Cataract and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service Singapore National Eye Centre

Too much near work or computer games have been shown to be associated with myopia. It does not matter what activities are performed during periods of near work (i.e. reading, typing or watching videos), but she should give her eyes a break after 30-40 mins of continuous near activity.


Question by limbeelin

Dear Dr Lim, I have quite severe astigmatism and mild myopia. Would nightly overnight contact lenses be helpful for improving the astigmatism temporarily. And are there any contraindications to wearing them? thank you

Answered by Dr Zena Lim, Visiting Consultant Cataract and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service Singapore National Eye Centre

Overnight rigid contact lenses i.e. orthokeratology lenses are used for myopia treatment, and work by flattening the front surface of the eye during overnight wear. These lenses are generally accepted as a temporary treatment for the reduction of mild myopia. In contrast, astigmatism can be corrected by toric soft contact lenses, rigid gas permeable contact lenses, both of which are worn during waking hours, or spectacles.

The major risk of using orthokeratology lenses is corneal infection, which can be blinding in severe cases. Other reported complications include induced optical aberrations, and corneal pigmentations. The usage of orthokeratology lenses is generally not endorsed by ophthalmologists.


Question by jackie

My daughter loves watching YouTube videos on my iPhone. Is this very bad fir her eyesight? How much time can she 'safely' spend each day/time watching this without spoiling her eyesight ? Is there are difference in watching TV vs computer vs mobile devices? Which is the best to use / worst to avoid ? For computer use, does it make any difference if she is using it for reading / typing versus playing computer games, versus watching videos ? Thanks

Answered by Dr Zena Lim, Visiting Consultant Cataract and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service Singapore National Eye Centre

Too much near work or computer games have been shown to be associated with myopia. It does not matter what activities are performed during periods of near work (i.e. reading, typing or watching videos), but she should give her eyes a break after 30-40 mins of continuous near activity.


Question by student

When we watch more or play more computer or television will our eye degree go up

Answered by Dr Zena Lim, Visiting Consultant Cataract and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service Singapore National Eye Centre

Too much near work or computer games have been shown to be associated with myopia. It does not matter what activities are performed during periods of near work (i.e. reading, typing or watching videos), but she should give her eyes a break after 30-40 mins of continuous near activity.


Ref: U11