Myopia (Short-sightedness) - Can you prevent it in your child?
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Myopia: Can you prevent it in your child?

What is myopia?

Myopia, commonly known as short-sightedness is a disorder of the eye that affects people’s ability to see distant objects. It occurs when the shape of your eye causes light rays to focus in front of your retina instead of on it.

It is estimated that by 2050, 5 billion people will have myopia. That’s half of the world’s estimated total population then. In Singapore, the population-based STARS (Strabismus, Amblyopia and Refractive Error in Singaporean Children) study found that 1 in 10 children aged 6 months to 6 years old develop myopia, sometimes even before they receive their first national vision screening in schools. By the end of secondary school, this worsens; 8 in 10 children have myopia.

Given these daunting statistics, if you are a new parent, you might be wondering: is it possible to prevent myopia in my child altogether? The short answer to the question is yes, and regular and timely comprehensive eye check-ups can help.

These are the signs you should bring your child for an eye check up

According to the Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB), take your child for an eye check up if they experience these symptoms:

  • Complaining that distant objects appear blurry
  • Frequently sitting too close to the TV/holding their book too close
  • Squinting or tilting their head to see better
  • Rubbing their eyes often
  • Becoming overly sensitive to light
  • Closing one of their eyes when reading or watching TV
  • Avoiding activities that require near vision such as doing their homework
  • Complaining of headaches/tired eyes
  • Making mistakes when copying from the board

Looking out for these signs is an important signal that you need to take your child to the optometrist for an eye check-up as soon as possible. However, regardless of whether your child has displayed any of the signs above, or has an eye condition or not, regular and timely eye check-ups are still necessary to ensure that their eyes remain well protected.

Getting an eye check-up is just as important as visiting a dentist

Regular and timely comprehensive eye check-ups can help identify vision problems and is essential in addressing these problems early, before their vision deteriorates further. In the case of myopia, a study conducted by researchers from the Singapore National Eye Centre found that children who develop myopia at a younger age are 3 times at higher risk of developing high myopia, which can lead to irreversible vision loss if not managed and treated properly. Therefore, early detection and intervention through regular and timely eye check-ups can help slow the progression of myopia and prevent the onset of high myopia.

Keeping myopia in check

At Plano, we’ve developed planoEyecheck, an affordable, easy-to-use, patient-centred online platform that connects users to their nearest optometrist and allows them to book comprehensive eye check-ups for themselves and their loved ones, and better manage their eye health and myopia. We’ve partnered with major industry players, including Videre, W Optics, and Nanyang Optical to deliver these eye check-ups across Singapore. For a limited time only, all appointments made using the planoEyecheck platform will receive a S$50 voucher to cover the cost of the eye check-up. Book your eye checkup today!

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