The prevalence of myopia in Singapore is among the highest in the world, with 65 percent of children being myopic by Primary 6.
According to a study by the Singapore Eye Research Institute, childhood myopia is largely attributed to frequent near-work activities done with handheld gaming devices, mobile phones, iPads and personal computers .
Other common lifestyle factors that influence the rates of myopia progression in children include:
Healthy behaviours are widely recognised as key factors in reducing the risk of developing many chronic diseases, including myopia. Yet, many people struggle with making lifestyle changes that will improve eye health. Behavioural changes, such as seeking regular eyecare and adopting healthy eye care habits, are often difficult to sustain over time.
There are a number of approaches to managing myopia, including eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery. However, sustained behaviour interventions can help to prevent or slow the progression of myopia, especially in children and adolescents who are at higher risk for developing the condition.
In particular, sustained educational programs can help parents and children understand the importance of good vision and how to prevent myopia. Eye health professionals provide education on how to identify and avoid eye hazards at home or at school. Children also learn about the benefits of outdoor activities and how they can help to reduce the risk of myopia through these programs.
Studies have shown that people are more likely to make healthy changes to their lifestyle if they have consistent and sustained support and education from eye health professionals .
In Singapore, school-based programmes for children have shown to play an important role in reducing the prevalence of myopia by almost 5% within 5 years .
Plano’s Kids Myopia Program (KMP) is one of such sustained behaviour management programs for children. It intends to reduce the risk of development and progression of myopia by ensuring kids use devices in an eye healthy manner.
The science-based KMP program consists of 3 main aspects:
Coaching sessions are conducted monthly by qualified eye care professionals and trained coaches to impart children with healthy habits and routines that support good eye health. Teaching children about the importance of good eye health at an early age can help them develop healthy habits that will benefit them throughout their lives.
Educating children on good eye health behaviours has been shown to result in real and long-term behavioural changes in children .
Mobile applications can be a useful tool for encouraging healthy eye behaviours and reducing the risk of myopia. The planoApp is an important part of the KMP, to ensure that children are getting consistent reminders and reinforcements between their monthly coaching sessions. These consistent timed reminders are designed to provide feedback or encourage certain behaviour at predefined times.
In a 2021 study conducted with 1440 children aged 6 to 7 years in Primary schools in Guangzhou, China, showed that children who received reminders had 20% lower incidence of myopia compared to children who did not .
Another aspect of sustained education efforts in myopia management is providing information to parents about the importance of good vision and eye health in children. This can include information about the signs and symptoms of myopia and the importance of early detection and treatment. Parents also get access to evidence-based resources to equip them with the necessary knowledge and tools to better manage their child’s myopia outcomes.
Plano’s parent education program demonstrated sustained improvements in parent’s eye health knowledge, kid’s device use behaviour, and increased uptake of eye health services.
Overall, sustained education efforts can help to raise awareness about the importance of good vision and eye health, and can encourage children to take proactive steps to protect and maintain their vision. This plays a crucial role in reducing the prevalence and impact of myopia in the Singapore population.
 Yasmin, S., & Ibrahim, N. (2022). Social behaviour change interventions in eye care: lessons from the field. Community eye health, 35(115), 21–22.
Explore our specifically designed products and services backed by eye health professionals to help keep your children safe online and their eyes healthy.