Thursday, January 18, 2024

Personal update on my eye health


I've been receiving a lot of messages from well-wishers, so I'd like to provide another update on my thyroid eye disease that has caused double vision and is now treated with special prism lens stockers on my spectacles.

After waiting for a few weeks, I was able to get treated by a government doctor at TTSH, and my previous update on my health has predicted totally different suggestions on what I should do next.

To recap, I panicked when I discovered that I was seeing double and took some urgent steps to get treated in the private sector. I spent a ridiculous amount of money to see three different ophthalmologists. Out of $3,000, about $1,700 was spent on an MRI; the only outcome was that I could get poorly made prism lenses to mitigate the issue. 

The suggestion from the private doctor was to get me into a hospital for three days and get an intravenous injection of steroids into my body. But this will be expensive as I steroids can interfere with my diabetic control and there's a possibility that I have to repeat this regularly if there is no improvement of my situation. I playfully suggested that my budget was only $50,000 as I do not have private insurance, and it seemed this option would blow my budget quickly. 

I consulted some doctor pals, and I was told that outpatient options are available, and this was likely suggested so that most clients with integrated shield plans would end up getting insurance companies to overpay for extra checks. In fact, a promising new drug called Rituximab exists that can help with my eye disease and would not wreak havoc with my blood sugar control. 

With $3,000 down the hole, I was not about to just submit one suggestion from a private doctor, so I booked an appointment with TTSH to see whether I could get a second opinion.

As I have guessed, once the incentives change, the treatment takes a 180-degree turn!

The government doctor considered my case extremely mild and gave me new lenses, fitted professionally after a lengthy process, which improved my eyesight dramatically from my previous lenses from the private sector. He instructed me to observe symptoms if they worsened but suggested no medical intervention. I would have gotten all this for just $275. My only disappointment was that the doctor still needed to attend a conference on Rituximab but promised that I would be considered if a trial was conducted locally.

In the end, I had to pick the option that was gentler for my wallet. Informally, the doctor told me I could do some eye exercises, so I started doing them to see whether they could speed up my recovery.

I do have a third option in reserve. I have two specialists in Malaysia I can contact to see whether I can get some out-of-the-box ideas, but this involves travel and risk. The idea that I can talk some Malaysian doctor into administering Rituximab is really tempting, but what if I get into trouble and need to enter A&E in a local hospital?

Anyway, I'm writing to warn of two extreme suggestions for treating my problem. One is to blow a large wad of cash, get myself hospitalized and take something that affects my blood sugar control with the odds of doing this again if nothing happens. The other option is to just let my eyes heal naturally. 

I wonder if both doctors can be correct.

Government facilities and staff to fit prism lenses to patients are vastly superior to what I experienced in the private sector. I even have evidence as to how badly cut my lenses were. 

( Just don't ask privately for me to share the identities of the private clinics. )

That may be why Benz Hui commented that HK doctors are terrified of Singaporean patients because they tend to do a lot of research before seeing them. 

If you look at my situation, what other alternatives do I have?




  1. Hi Chris,

    Is your thyroid eye disease due to your hyperthyroidism condition that you didn't treat with radioactive iodine and it came back lately? I understand that you are taking anti-thyroid drugs to treat it currently, but it might not be a long term solution. Maybe you should look at your options available again and monitor T4 and TSH levels regularly.

    1. I have not elected to treat with radioactive iodine. It will acually make my eye situation worse.

  2. There is scheme to allow MediSave payment for foreign hospital
    Only 2 JB hospitals can use
    Need to pre-process the financial sbefore going in

  3. The blog details the writer's journey in seeking treatment for thyroid eye disease, emphasizing the stark contrast in recommendations between private and government healthcare providers. After investing substantial funds in the private sector, the government doctor provided a more cost-effective and conservative approach, highlighting the importance of exploring multiple opinions. This cautionary tale urges readers to weigh their options carefully. For comprehensive eye care, consider consulting SB Optical – dedicated to vision wellness. Kudos to the blog writer for sharing valuable insights.

  4. Tuition sessions incorporate regular practice with past PSLE exam papers and curated exercises, honing problem-solving skills and exam temperament.

    Read more: PSLE English Tuition in Singapore