SINGAPORE - There has been almost a five per cent reduction in the prevalence of myopia, or short-sightedness, among children in primary schools, according to a study conducted by the Health Promotion Board (HPB).
Compared to 38 per cent of pupils who were short-sighted in 2004, only 33
per cent were so in 2009 - about 12,500 fewer children with myopia in all primary schools.
Singapore has one of the highest rates of myopia in the world. About 65 per cent of children aged 12 in Singapore are myopic.
This is a fairly large number compared to the 12 per cent and 29 per cent of
myopic 12-year-olds in Australia and the United Kingdom respectively.
HPB acknowledged that this has been a worrying trend that has caused a lot of concern, leading to the introduction of the National Myopia Prevention Programme (NMPP) in 2001.
In order to help alleviate the problem of short-sightedness among school children, HPB conducts vision screening and provide preventive health education on eye care in kindergartens and childcare centres.
HPB also gives needy students who are myopic fully-subsidised lenses, plus vouchers to offset their purchases at optical shops.