Myopia is a common vision condition in which near objects appear clear, but objects farther away look blurry. Myopia happens when the eyeball grows too long or when there are issues with the shape of the cornea or lens. This causes light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it. Myopia can be easily corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery.
- What’s the prevalence of myopia in Singapore?
The prevalence of myopia in Singapore is one of the highest in the world, with 65% of our children being myopic by Primary 6, and 83% of young adults being myopic. As such, Singapore is often termed the “Myopia Capital of the World”. By 2050, it is estimated that 80 to 90% of all Singaporean adults above 18 years old will be myopic and 15 to 25% of these individuals may have high myopia.
- How can I prevent myopia from getting worse?
Although there is no cure for myopia, with the adoption of good lifestyle habits, the onset of myopia can be slowed down. By the age of 20, myopia usually stabilises. Time on digital devices should be limited and screen breaks should be taken to stretch your eye muscles. It should be ensured that one works or reads in a well-lit setting. Patients are encouraged to go outdoors and schedule regular eye exams.
Atropine eye drops for childhood myopia, specifically the low dose 0.01% atropine eye drops, have proven very effective in controlling myopia progression in children. An advantage of the lowest dose of 0.01% as compared to the higher 1% dose used in the past is that it has been proven to slow myopia by 50-60% with no side effects such as near-blur which are commonly found with the higher 1% dose.
- What are the symptoms of myopia?
Some symptoms of myopia include
- Objects at a distance appear blurry
- Close objects appear clear
- Shortened attention span
- Holding objects close to the face
- Eye strain
Should you notice such symptoms in your child, do book an eye check-up with an ophthalmologist.
- What are the possible future complications for myopia?
When one has myopia, the elongation results in a thinner retina (the light-sensitive layer of nerve tissue in the innermost layer of the eye.) This places the eye at higher risk of developing a retina tear, hole or detachment. This may result in loss of vision.