What is Myopia ?
Otherwise known as nearsightedness, myopia occurs when the eye grows too long from front to back. Instead of focusing images on the retina—the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye—the lens of the eye focuses the image in front of the retina. People with myopia have good near vision but poor distance vision.
People with myopia can typically see well enough to read a book or computer screen but struggle to see objects farther away. Sometimes people with undiagnosed myopia have headaches and eyestrain from struggling to clearly see things in the distance.
Myopia in Singapore
The latest figures show that overall 34% of Singapore’s young children between the ages of seven to nine are nearsighted. In comparison, myopia affects only 19% of young children in Taiwan and 12% in Hong Kong. As for Western countries, the prevalence rates are even lower. For example, just 7.5% of young children are myopic in the United States.
Childhood Myopia : A common problem today
Myopia or nearsightedness is the most common eye problem affecting our children today. One in four of our six-year-old kindergarten children are myopic today compared with one in eight in 1996. By the time our children reach nine, two out of five Primary 3 students are nearsighted. At the age of 12 years, over half of our Primary 6 students are myopic. By the time they enter college, over 80% will need to wear glasses.