Commentary: Myopia is an unavoidable reality for most children. Here’s how to manage it

SINGAPORE: There’s a silent epidemic in Singapore that impacts up to eight out of 10 youngsters by the point they’re in Primary 6. It may have lifelong penalties, however dad and mom are usually unaware of how to scale back its affect.

This epidemic is no stranger to any of us – it’s often called myopia.

Myopia is so prevalent in Singapore at this time that it’s onerous to discover a youngster who is not myopic. Our youngsters now spend a lot time on computer systems and cell gadgets for leisure and education that myopia is an unavoidable reality for most of them.

But ought to we settle for it passively by letting our youngsters’s myopia progress through the years? Is there nothing that may be carried out about myopia past correcting our youngsters’s near-sightedness with spectacles?  


You is perhaps questioning why there’s a necessity to be involved about your youngster’s myopia when there are tried and examined methods to appropriate their imaginative and prescient.

As an optometrist, I’ve noticed that when a baby is identified with myopia, the default response from dad and mom is to match the kid with spectacles and hope that after they’re adults, they’ll endure Lasik to completely appropriate their imaginative and prescient.

While spectacles and Lasik are efficient in serving to a myopic sufferer see clearly, we want to differentiate between myopia administration and myopia correction.  

Blurred imaginative and prescient of faraway objects is the most quick and visual consequence of myopia, however myopia is rather more than merely not having the ability to see far. It is a power, progressive eye illness, characterised by extreme elongation of the eyeball, such that mild rays give attention to some extent in entrance of the retina, slightly than immediately on its floor. This elongation of the attention is irreversible.

If it develops into excessive myopia, outlined as 500 levels and above in every eye, it could lead on to sight-threatening circumstances akin to myopic macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

Young youngsters who develop myopia earlier than the age of 12 are extra susceptible to creating excessive myopia and, in consequence, are susceptible to creating issues later in life.

Spectacles act as a software to appropriate imaginative and prescient however have little bearing on the development of 1’s myopia. Similarly, the Lasik process affords clear imaginative and prescient by eradicating part of the layer of the cornea to neutralise myopia and astigmatism, however this doesn’t deal with the well being dangers which happen in eyes which have developed excessive myopia. This means sufferers can have 6/6 excellent imaginative and prescient after Lasik, however nonetheless be inclined to creating myopia-related points.

Therefore, it’s important for dad and mom not to merely appropriate the symptom, however to manage the illness itself. 


A standard false impression about myopia is that it can’t be prevented or managed after being identified. Its onset and development can certainly be slowed down earlier than it turns into excessive myopia.

The most efficient means of delaying the onset of myopia in youngsters is to enhance the time they spend outdoors. A research discovered that youngsters who’re outside 200 minutes or extra every single day are much less doubtless to be or to develop into myopic, no matter how a lot close to work they do or whether or not they’re genetically inclined to myopia.

This is partly as a result of shiny outside mild, which can’t be replicated indoors, supplies a protecting impact even for those who’re sporting sun shades or are below an outside shelter. Therefore, you need to actively contain your youngster in common outside actions akin to sports activities, video games and strolling. One small and achievable life-style behavior is to take your loved ones out on day by day outings so your youngster spends extra time away from screens and even books indoors.

Another factor you are able to do is to begin your youngster on optical intervention therapies out there in Singapore. These embody myopia management day by day contact lenses worn within the daytime, spectacle lenses with a design that creates peripheral defocus, and orthokeratology, also referred to as ortho-Okay lenses. Ortho-Okay lenses are onerous lenses worn at evening whereas the kid is sleeping to reshape their cornea and supply clear imaginative and prescient the following day in order that they don’t want to put on spectacles or contact lenses.

These therapies are secure for youngsters and have been confirmed efficient in slowing down myopia development.

Children whose myopia could be managed when at a low diploma will get pleasure from extra freedom from impaired imaginative and prescient. As lowering the speed of myopia development may lower the prevalence of excessive myopia by up to 90 per cent, it is important for each dad or mum to actively manage your youngster’s eye well being as early as doable.

If you’re uncertain of how to get began, an important first step could be to take your youngster to the optometrist for common eye checks to assess the development of their myopia and focus on greatest strategies for managing it.

The earlier we begin, the upper the possibility our youngsters will get pleasure from good eye well being for the remainder of their lives.

Edith Ho is an optometrist and Assistant Manager of Professional Development, Vision Care at Johnson & Johnson Vision.

Commentary: Myopia is an unavoidable reality for most kids. Here’s how to manage it

Edith Ho

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