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​Myopia - a widespread problem 

Take a look at your child’s class photo. How many of the kids are wearing glasses? We’ll bet it’s up to half the class. That’s because Singapore has one of the world’s highest rates of myopia.

​When you cultivate good eye care habits in your child, you could help delay the onset and progression of myopia.​

Here are some simple eye care tips for your child.

a. Reduce time spent on near work

  • Reduce the time your children are allowed to spend playing games on hand-held electronic devices, handphone games and other computer-related activities such as blogging and internet chats.
  • When indoors, monitor the time your child spends on continuous reading, writing and other near work. Encourage your child to take a break after 30-40 minutes of near work such as reading or writing. Your child should look at distant objects for 3 to 5 minutes. They could look out of the window into the distance or at nearby greenery, or go outdoors for a while.

b. Increase time spent on outdoor activities every day

  • There is a growing body of evidence that outdoor activities may delay the onset or progression of myopia in your child. So get your child to spend time playing ball games, walking in the park or go on family picnics at the beach, etc.
  • Outdoor activities should not include reading or playing hand-held games outdoors. Instead, encourage your child to engage in fun activities that involve body movements to increase physical fitness. Better yet, join in the fun!

c. Encourage other healthy eye care habits

  • Ensure there is adequate lighting in the room.
  • When reading, make sure they hold the book about 30 cm away from their eyes.
  • Choose books with a large print.
  • Refrain from reading in bed and in moving vehicles.
  • Make sure when using the computer, the monitor screen is about 50 cm away from their eyes.
  • Place the computer screen at a distance from the eyes.
  • Adjust its screen to reduce glare from the reflection of other light sources.
  • Sit at a distance from the TV that is appropriate to its size. The bigger the TV, the further away your child should sit.
  • Sit upright in a comfortable chair.

d. Take your child for eye check-ups yearly

Even if your child has been screened for myopia in school, it’s a good idea to take them for a check-up if they are squinting, having headaches or blurred vision.

e. Ensure a healthy lifestyle

  • Encourage them to eat a balanced diet.
  • Try to make sure your child has at least eight hours of sleep each night to rest the eyes.
  • Instead of just playing computer games, get them to participate in outdoor games as well.

Wearing spectacles

Here are some useful tips your child should follow on wearing spectacles.

a. Insist they use both hands to put on or remove their spectacles.

b. Remind them not to place their spectacles downwards on the table or other surfaces as this will scratch the lenses.

c. Get your child to wash their spectacles at least once a day or whenever they are dirty, using soap and water, then wiping them clean with a soft cloth.

d. If they are not using their spectacles, keep them in the spectacle case. Do not place spectacles in pockets where it may fall out or get bent out of shape.

e. If they cannot see clearly even with their spectacles, or if they have any pain in the eyes, headaches, dizziness or vomiting, their spectacles may not be right for them and need to be changed as soon as possible.

Wearing contact lenses

Get your child to practise these tips when wearing contact lenses.

a. Make sure they learn the correct handling of their contact lenses from their optician or optometrist.

b. Always wash hands before handling their contact lenses.

c. Clean their contact lenses daily with the method taught to them.

d. Keep fingernails short to avoid scratching their contact lenses.

e. Do not wear contact lenses if there is discomfort or redness in their eyes.

f. Use lubricating eyedrops whenever they feel their eyes are dry.

g. Always keep a spare pair of spectacles with them in case they are unable to wear their contact lenses.

​​​Take your child for regular eye-checks

  • Visit an optometrist or optician at least once a year if your child is myopic or has been advised to do so by the School Health Service.

Let your children know how important it is to practise good eye care habits. Remind them to take regular vision breaks and limit the duration of continuous near work.

By taking active steps to ensure good eye habits, you can delay the onset of myopia or reduce its progression.​​


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