Myopia, or short-sightedness, is an eye disorder where light rays focus in front of the retina instead of on the retina itself. This is due to abnormal growth and elongation of the eyeball, which affect how light rays enter the eye. As a result, farther objects progressively appear blurred to a person.
Myopia is a form of refractive error. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines myopia as a condition where the refractive error in the eye is at least –0.50 diopters (or "50 degrees").
WHO defines high myopia as a condition where the refractive error in the eye is at least –5.00 diopters (or "500 degrees").
All About Myopia
Myopia in Singapore
Singapore is #1 in the world for the prevalence of childhood myopia among kids aged 7 to 9. 65% of primary school children in Singapore are already myopic.
This is a concern because developing myopia before 11 greatly increases the likelihood of developing high myopia in later life, as myopia progresses rapidly in the initial years.
High myopia increases the risk of developing eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal tears and detachments and even blindness.
What causes myopia?
Both genetics and environmental risk factors contribute to myopia.
A child with two myopic parents is 8 times more likely to develop myopia compared to a child with no myopic parents.
Research shows that myopia is prevalent in Asian societies like Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. Aside from genetics, emphasis on schoolwork (a form of near work) is one possible reason that contributes to the prevalence of myopia in these regions.
A person's lifestyle plays a significant role in how myopia may develop. Factors include time spent outdoors, eye breaks and near work.
Myths about myopia
There are tons of misconceptions out there about myopia, and some of them are simply false.
Carrots, wolfberries (or goji berries) and supplements like Vitamin A improve overall eye health but do not specifically help with myopia.
LASIK is one of the ways to treat myopia, but it does not cure myopia. This is because myopia is irreversible!
There are various solutions today to treat myopia. These include:
For more information about these treatments, click here.
DID YOU KNOW?
Wearing glasses helps your child to see clearly, but they does not stop your child's myopia from worsening!
What you can do
As a person's lifestyle is key to delaying the progression of myopia, it is important to start cultivating good eye habits in your child.
Regular outdoor activity
Spending more time outdoors is one of the best ways to combat myopia. The exposure to sunlight and farther distances is beneficial to the eyes.
Take more eye breaks
Just like our body, our eyes also need to rest. Try our Supervision Tracker to remind your child to take regular eye breaks in between work!
Ensure "safe distancing"
Ensure a good distance of 30 centimetres between your child's eyes and the work he/she is doing. This includes the use of electronic devices such as phones and iPads.
In the fight against myopia, SuperVision is encouraging parents to take your child outdoors all month. Join the SuperVision Challenge today and stand to win attractive weekly prizes!
DID YOU KNOW?
Experts recommend spending 2 hours outdoors daily.