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Myopia is more expensive than you think

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The economic cost of myopia in Singapore

Myopia affects a majority of the Singaporean population. According to a study\ conducted on almost 1,000 Singaporean teenagers, the prevalence of myopia was found to be around 74%. In other words, out of 4 teenagers, 3 are likely to have myopia.

Costs of myopia

With such a high prevalence of myopia in Singapore, you may expect that public health costs can be significant. These costs include both direct costs, such as the purchasing of spectacles and contact lenses, and indirect costs, such as productivity-related costs and even costs from other eye diseases that arise as a result of an individual having myopia.

A study on school children aged 12 to 17 years old, aimed to quantify the direct costs of myopia in Singapore. They did this by administering surveys to both the teenagers and their parents, where they asked questions such as the cost and frequency of visits to the optometrist, cost of buying spectacles and contact lenses, and how often their spectacles were changed.

The study found that the average annual direct cost of myopia for each Singaporean school child is S$222, but as with any other costs, there is a range of costs for myopia because it can be affected by the individual or the family’s socioeconomic status. For example, a teenager in a family with a higher annual household or disposable income may change their spectacles more frequently as compared to another teenager who has to be more prudent with their money.

While the amount of money spent annually on children with myopia shown above already seems high, bear in mind that the survey was just looking at direct costs. Indirect costs were not measured, which means that the true economic costs of having myopia will be even higher.

The best way to avoid or minimise the out of pocket costs of myopia is to ensure that you are getting your eyes checked regularly so that myopia is better managed to prevent its rapid progression, which may lead to other blinding eye conditions later in life, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration – and these eye problems are associated with much higher costs!

To ease parents’ concern, we at Plano have created planoEyecheck, an online platform where you can find and book an appointment at your nearest trusted optometrist to get both yours and your child’s eyes checked. You can even keep track of and modify your appointments on the platform.

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