Singapore has been deemed as the myopia capital of the world, but how much do parents know about this stifling vision condition?
The truth about myopia.
Myopia is most commonly regarded as near-sightedness. It occurs when the eye ball loses its round shape and becomes elongated. While many are aware of this condition, few fully understand the condition, consequences, and preventive measures that come along with this vision ailment.
In fact, through a survey conducted in 2019, 54% of Singaporean parents identified blurry vision as the only consequence of myopia. While blurry vision is one of the most common consequences of myopia, it’s not the only one. It can also induce frequent headaches, squinting, and eye fatigue. In fact, if myopia goes untreated, it can lead to high myopia, cataracts and even glaucoma in later years. As parents, it’s important to keep informed about all there is to know about taking care of our child’s vision health to prevent any eye health conditions from surfacing.
Here are 3 misconceptions Singaporean parents have about myopia:
1. “Myopia is only passed down genetically. I have perfect eyesight so it’s unlikely that my child will develop myopia.”
It’s true that there is a higher incidence of your child developing myopia if he/she is genetically predisposed to myopia. However, it doesn’t mean that those who do not have a family history of myopia are immune to the visual condition.
Myopia can develop as a result of environmental factors as well. These environmental factors include: prolonged near work activity, lack of time outdoors, and a long duration of screen time. For instance, if your child constantly partakes in near work activity for extended periods of time (such as placing their phones too near their eyes), it can place unnecessary strain and pressure on the eyes. This could lead to myopia progression as the eye ball begins to lose its shape and structure.
It’s important to remember that while myopia can be passed down genetically, environmental factors play a critical role in myopia progression as well.
2. “It’s okay to delay wearing spectacles/corrective contact lenses as this could improve their eyesight.”
This could not be further from the truth. If your child requires prescriptive spectacles or corrective lenses to help them see clearly, they should wear them as soon as they can. This is to ensure that your child will be able to go about his/her daily activities with the clearest vision possible. Delaying spectacles or corrective lenses can put your child at a greater risk – it could lead to an incomplete development of your child’s eyes and even worsen your child’s existing myopia condition.
3. Annual school check ups are sufficient to prevent myopia.
In Singapore, the annual health screening program in schools is an important first step as it identifies those with reduced vision. But even before that, about 11% of Singaporean children already develop myopia between the early ages of 6 months to 6 years. Thus, it is recommended that children still attend an annual comprehensive eye check at an optometrist to continuously evaluate and treat any eye conditions.
Stopping myopia in a blink of an eye.
Not literally, but there are steps you can take as a parent to prevent myopia from progressing in your little one. Remind your child to take an eye break every 30 minutes after using his/her devices, and them at least 30 cm away from the eyes. Most importantly, bringing your child to attend an annual comprehensive eye exam at an optometrist can help your child to identify any vision ailments he/she may have. If needed, your optometrist will prescribe medication or prescriptive glasses to help safeguard your child’s vision.
You can book a comprehensive eye exam for your child today at planoeyecheck.com. Simply choose your nearest optometrist on the website, sign up, and you’re good to go! Let’s all keep our children’s eyes healthy and safe from myopia today.