Myopia: Managing a crisis

Rates of myopia are among the highest in the world in Singapore. Yiannis Kotoulas investigates how the Southeast Asian country is managing

‘All males have to join the army in Singapore at age 18,’ explains Dr Koh Liang Hwee, former president of Singapore Optometric Association, ‘and over 80% of these adult males have myopia.’

Singapore is a small, economically developed nation that sits near the top of the table in terms of myopia rates in young adults. More than four in five adult Singaporeans are myopic, a figure that dwarfs rates in the UK, where around 30% of adults are.

Rates of myopia are on the rise in the UK however, with one study demonstrating that rates have more than doubled in the past 50 years from 7.2% of children in the 1960s to 16.4% today. Singapore provides an example of what the future could look like in the UK in terms of myopia rates, but also demonstrates how optometry in the UK could develop myopia management strategies to control the most severe cases.

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