Myopia, or short-sightedness, is a refractive error where distance objects appear blurry but near objects can be seen clearly. It arises from the excessive growth of the eyeball, such that light from a far object falls out of focus within the eye. Spectacles, contact lenses and refractive surgery (LASIK) can be used to achieve good vision but do not address the problem of increased eyeball lens.
Myopia is the most common eye condition affecting children in Singapore today. More than half of the children in Singapore develop myopia by the age of 12 years old. It is also a worrying trend that children are becoming myopic at a younger age.
The earlier the myopia begins in life, the higher is the risk of it progressing to severe levels in adulthood. Refractive errors in young children can lead to amblyopia (“lazy eye”) which can lead to permanent visual loss if not corrected early. High myopia is also a risk factor for various eye complications, including:
- Retinal detachment
- Macular degeneration