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Singapore is  #1 in the world for the prevalence of childhood myopia in seven to nine-year-olds.

This is one Singapore statistic that we’d all like to change. Whether it’s because of all the studying children do, genetic factors, prolonged screen time or lack of outdoor time, myopia is extremely common in Singapore.

What is myopia?


Myopia, or shortsightedness is when a person can see near objects clearly but distant objects appear blurred.

 
 

​​What causes myopia?


The actual cause of myopia is not clearly known. However, genetic as well as environmental factors play a part in its development. For example, the risk of a person developing myopia is higher if one or both parents have myopia. Lack of outdoor time and too many constant hours of near work such as reading and screen time (from mobile devices to computers and television) may also contribute to the development of myopia. Outdoor time protects against the early development of myopia in children.

Myopia usually develops in children of school-going age and continues to worsen until they reach their early 20s, after which the condition usually stabilises.

Early onset of myopia is associated with high myopia in adult life.

Symptoms


The following symptoms may be present if your child has myopia:
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches from straining eyes
  • Squinting

​Dealing with myopia


As there is no cure for myopia, spectacles or contact lenses are the most common ways of correcting your child’s myopia. They help to re-focus the light rays onto the retina.

 
Surgical procedures (e.g. LASIK) can improve or correct myopia, but it’s not advisable for your child to undergo these surgical procedures as their eyeballs are still developing.
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Complications of myopia


Although not usually a very serious condition, higher degrees of myopia increase the risks of developing complications which can lead to reduced vision and blindness. The following are some complications that can occur:
  • Retinal detachment is a condition when the inner layer of the eye detaches from the eyeball.
  • Cataracts (opaqueness of the lens) – There is a higher chance of developing cataracts at an earlier age.
  • Glaucoma – Severe myopia can lead to increased fluid pressure in the eyeballs resulting in glaucoma.
  • Macular degeneration – This occurs when the retina degenerates, leading to reduced vision.

​Fight childhood myopia by teaching good eye care and screen time habits!


Studies show that an average of 2 to 3 hours a day of outdoor time for younger children may protect the child against myopia. Let your child spend more time outdoors every day. Your child can play games (ball games, catching), have fun in the playground or just take a walk.

Get your children to take a break after prolonged continuous near work activities. They can do this by looking at distant objects out of a window, going outside, or just taking a break.​

Manage your children's screen time and cultivate good device usage habits in them. Plano is a useful tool that not only gives parental control over your child's device use, but also motivates them to pick up good device habits. It is developed by the Singapore Eye Research Institute-Singapore National Eye Care Centre's (SERI-SNEC) Opthalmic Technologies Incubator Programme and is a partner of Health Promotion Board's National Myopia Prevention Programme. Download the app to access it's wide range of smart functions.

​By ​instilling good habits early​​,​ you’ll be helping to halt the progression of myopia.