Childhood Myopia: Is Your Child at Risk?

Childhood Myopia in SingaporeSingapore has the highest incidence rate of myopia in the whole world. This is a serious concern, since the earlier myopia manifests in a child, the higher the chance that the child develops severe myopia as he or she grows older. Severe myopia could lead to more serious complications such as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, which in turn can lead to blindness.

Is Your Child at Risk for Myopia?

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness or shortsightedness, is the most prevalent refractive eye error worldwide. It has become increasingly common in previous years. It also counts as one of the top health concerns in Singapore, along with cancer and diabetes.

In Singapore alone, 20% of kids have myopia before they begin primary schooling at seven years old, and the incidence rate increases as much as 70% when they finish college. It typically manifests in school-aged children, and becomes worse until their 20s, and then it normally stabilises.

While the cause of myopia has yet to be pinpointed, experts state that environmental and genetic factors play a critical part in myopia development. For instance, a child has a higher risk of getting myopia if both or one parent suffers from myopia.

Watching TV, reading and looking at the computer for too long can contribute to developing myopia. The Eye Clinic emphasises the importance of eye screening, especially because children cannot tell adults they have difficulties seeing.

Can Myopia be Controlled or Corrected?

Fortunately for myopic children and their parents, myopia correction is possible. The goal is to refocus the light right back to the retina by use of contact lenses, spectacles, ICLTM or implantable contact lenses, and laser surgery like LASIK.

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According to myopia control experts in Singapore, the use of Atropine eye drops and spectacle lenses is capable of slowing down the development of the condition. These myopia control methods only differ in theory and efficacy rates.

In addition, recent research suggests that Atropine eye drops in low doses, along with Orthokeratology, a therapy that utilises very high oxygen permeable contacts for reshaping corneas, can impede myopia progression in children.