- Briefly introduce myopia and its prevalence in Singapore.
- Mention the importance of Myopia Control in children.
What is myopia?
Myopia is a refractive error caused by the eyeball being too long, or the cornea being too curved. As a result, light entering the eye focuses in front of the retina, instead of directly on it. This causes distant objects to appear blurry, while close-up objects remain clear.
Causes of myopia:
Myopia is primarily caused by genetic factors, but environmental factors such as reading and prolonged use of digital devices can also contribute to its development. Children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop myopia compared to those who spend more time indoors.
Complications of myopia:
While myopia is a common condition, it can lead to serious eye problems if left untreated. The longer the eye continues to elongate, the higher the risk of developing complications such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. In addition, high myopia (nearsightedness greater than -6.00 diopters) can increase the risk of these complications.
Prevention and Treatment of myopia:
There are various ways to prevent and treat myopia. Some preventive measures include spending more time outdoors, taking breaks when reading or using digital devices, and maintaining good posture. Treatment options include corrective eyewear such as glasses or contact lenses, and refractive surgery such as LASIK or PRK.
Why is myopia a concern for children?
The prevalence of myopia in Singapore:
Singapore has one of the highest rates of myopia in the world, with up to 80% of young adults being affected by the condition. Additionally, the prevalence of myopia in Singaporean children has increased significantly over the years. A study conducted by the Health Promotion Board in 2016 found that:
- 30% of children aged 7 to 9 have myopia
- 65% of children aged 10 to 12 have myopia
- 80% of children aged 15 have myopia
The impact of myopia on children:
Myopia can have a significant impact on a child’s daily life. Children with myopia may experience difficulties with:
- Seeing the whiteboard or reading materials in class
- Participating in sports and outdoor activities
- Socializing with their peers
- Additionally, myopia can lead to more serious eye problems later in life, such as:
- Retinal detachment
The importance of managing myopia in children:
Given the high prevalence of myopia in Singapore, it is crucial for parents to be aware of the importance of managing their child’s myopia. Myopia control measures, such as orthokeratology, multifocal contact lenses, and atropine eye drops, have been shown to slow down the progression of myopia in children. By managing their child’s myopia early on, parents can help prevent the development of more serious eye problems later in life.
What is myopia control?
As myopia can worsen over time, it is crucial to take steps to control its progression, especially in children. Refractive error control refers to various methods and treatments aimed at slowing down or stopping the progression of myopia.
There are several refractive error control methods available, including orthokeratology, atropine eye drops, and multifocal contact lenses, among others. Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K, involves the use of special contact lenses that reshape the cornea while the patient sleeps, allowing for clear vision during the day. Atropine eye drops dilate the pupil and prevent the eye from accommodating, which can slow down the progression of myopia. Multifocal contact lenses work by correcting vision at multiple distances, helping to slow down myopia progression.
Benefits of Refractive Error Control for children
Here are some benefits of Refractive Error Control for children:
Preventing vision deterioration:
Refractive error control aims to slow down the progression of nearsightedness, which can prevent further deterioration of vision in children. This can help reduce the risk of developing serious eye problems in adulthood.
Improved academic performance:
Myopia can significantly affect a child’s academic performance, as it can lead to difficulty seeing the blackboard and reading text in textbooks. Refractive Error Control can help children see more clearly, which can improve their academic performance and confidence.
Reduced risk of accidents:
Children with myopia may have difficulty seeing objects in the distance, which can increase their risk of accidents, especially when playing sports or crossing the road. Refractive Error Control l can help improve their distance vision, reducing their risk of accidents.
Myopia control options in Singapore
Ortho-K is a non-surgical and reversible refractive error control method. This involves wearing a specially designed contact lens that reshapes the cornea while you sleep. In the morning, the lens is removed, and the reshaped cornea provides clear vision throughout the day. Ortho-K lenses are suitable for children and adults.
Multifocal contact lenses:
Multifocal contact lenses are designed with multiple prescriptions within a single lens, allowing for clear vision at varying distances. This type of contact lens has been shown to slow down the progression of myopia in children.
Atropine eye drops:
Atropine eye drops are a non-invasive method of refractive error control that involves using low doses of atropine to slow down the progression of myopia. Studies have shown that atropine eye drops can effectively reduce the progression of myopia in children by up to 50%.
- Sum up the importance of myopia control for children in Singapore.
- Encourage parents to take action in managing their child’s myopia.
- Provide a call-to-action for parents to prioritize their child’s eye health.