From Blurred to Clear Vision: Myopia Control in Singapore

Despite the high prevalence of myopia in Singapore, there are several strategies that can help control the condition and prevent it from worsening. In this blog post, we will explore the various myopia control strategies available in Singapore, including lifestyle changes, orthokeratology, and atropine eye drops. We will also provide practical tips for maintaining good eye health and preventing myopia progression.

Singapore has one of the highest rates of myopia in the world, with more than 80% of young adults affected by the condition, according to a study by the National University of Singapore. Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that causes distant objects to appear blurry. This can make it difficult to carry out daily activities such as driving and reading, and can also lead to more serious eye conditions such as retinal detachment and glaucoma.

Understanding Myopia

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common eye condition in Singapore. According to a study by the National University of Singapore, more than 80% of young adults in Singapore have myopia. Myopia is a refractive error that causes distant objects to appear blurry, while nearby objects remain clear. It occurs when the eyeball is too long, or the cornea (the clear front part of the eye) is too curved, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it.

 

Myopia can cause a range of symptoms, such as headaches, eyestrain, and difficulty seeing distant objects. It can also lead to more serious eye conditions, such as retinal detachment and glaucoma, which can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated.

 

The causes of myopia are complex and multifactorial. Genetics plays a role, as myopia tends to run in families. Environmental factors also contribute to myopia, with prolonged near-work activities such as reading and using electronic devices being a significant risk factor. A lack of outdoor time and exposure to natural light may also contribute to the development of myopia.

 

The prevalence of myopia in Singapore has been increasing over the years. In fact, a study by the Singapore Eye Research Institute found that the prevalence of myopia in children aged 7 to 9 increased from 29% in 1996 to 65% in 2015. This is a concerning trend that has led to various initiatives and programs aimed at preventing myopia and promoting good eye health.

Myopia management Strategies

Myopia is a significant concern in Singapore, with a high prevalence among the population. Fortunately, there are several effective strategies available for controlling myopia and preventing its progression. Here are some of the most popular strategies used in Singapore:

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K):

Ortho-K is a non-surgical treatment that involves wearing special contact lenses overnight, which gently reshape the cornea to correct myopia. In Singapore, this treatment has gained popularity, with a study by the Singapore Eye Research Institute finding it to be highly effective in controlling myopia in children. Ortho-K is suitable for people with low to moderate myopia and can provide clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day.

Atropine Eye Drops:

Atropine eye drops are another effective Myopia management strategy. These drops work by relaxing the muscles in the eye and slowing down the progression of myopia. In Singapore, atropine eye drops are commonly prescribed to children with myopia. A study by the Singapore National Eye Centre found that children who used atropine eye drops had a lower progression of myopia than those who did not.

Multifocal Contact Lenses:

Multifocal contact lenses are another option for Myopia management. These lenses work by correcting both near and far vision, which can help reduce the strain on the eyes during near-work activities. In Singapore, multifocal contact lenses are commonly used in combination with other Myopia management strategies.

Lifestyle Changes:

Lifestyle changes, such as spending more time outdoors and taking frequent breaks from near-work activities, are also important for myopia control. Studies have shown that spending at least two hours per day outdoors can significantly reduce the risk of myopia in children. Additionally, taking regular breaks from near-work activities and practicing good posture can also help reduce the strain on the eyes and prevent myopia progression.

Orthokeratology

Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K, is a non-surgical treatment for myopia that has gained popularity in Singapore in recent years. It involves wearing special contact lenses overnight, which gently reshape the cornea to correct myopia. Here’s what you need to know about Ortho-K in Singapore:

How effective is Ortho-K in Singapore?:

Ortho-K has been shown to be highly effective in controlling myopia in children in Singapore. A study by the Singapore Eye Research Institute found that Ortho-K reduced the progression of myopia by 43% compared to children who wore spectacles or contact lenses.

What are the benefits of Ortho-K?:

One of the main benefits of Ortho-K is that it can provide clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day. This can be especially beneficial for children who participate in sports or other activities that may be hindered by glasses or contact lenses. Additionally, Ortho-K has been shown to be safe and effective for children as young as six years old.

What should I expect during an Ortho-K treatment?:

During an Ortho-K treatment, you will need to wear special contact lenses overnight. These lenses are designed to gently reshape the cornea while you sleep. You may experience some discomfort or blurry vision during the first few days of treatment, but this should subside as your eyes adjust to the lenses.

Is Ortho-K covered by insurance in Singapore?:

Ortho-K is not typically covered by insurance in Singapore. However, some clinics may offer financing options or payment plans to make the treatment more affordable.

Conclusion

Myopia is a common vision problem in Singapore, but the good news is that there are effective strategies to control its progression. From outdoor activities and regular eye check-ups to specialized lenses and treatments like Orthokeratology, there are many ways to protect your eyesight and prevent myopia from getting worse.It’s important to prioritize eye health and take steps to prevent myopia, especially for children. With Singapore’s high prevalence of myopia control, it’s essential to be aware of the risk factors and to take action early on to protect your vision.

Remember, myopia is a progressive condition, and the earlier it’s detected and managed, the better the outcome. Be sure to consult with an eye specialist if you have any concerns about your vision or your child’s vision.

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