Short-sightedness, also known as myopia, is more common in Asian countries – with over 50 per cent of 11- to 13-year-olds developing the condition in urban populations. Compared to the rest of the world, Singapore has one of the highest prevalence of myopia, with about 30 per cent of children with the condition when entering school at age six, growing to 80 per cent of the population by the time they are 18 years old.
But now, the team behind MyoVision said they have made a breakthrough. Although the lenses do not provide as wide a spectrum of clear sight as normal spectacles, children who tested out the lenses said they only needed a few days to get used to their new lenses. A three-year study of 700 children in Australia and China who used the lenses found the myopia progression slowing down by some 30 per cent.
Currently, the MyoVision lenses only work on children and not adults whose eyes and vision have settled in. The other setback is the price tag. The lenses cost S$360 a pair, which is about three times more than normal lenses. Dr Koh Liang Hwee, a parent of five – three of whom are myopic, said: “Vision cannot be measured by money. If my kids’ myopia is not slowed down now, more money may have to be spent in future as high myopia causes more problems, such as retinal damage or detachment.”
Experts say the new lens will not cure myopia, but it will reduce the speed at which it is progressing. At the same time, good habits such as not spending long hours in front of the computer need to be followed .