How to treat myopia in Singapore kids
Read on to find out why myopia is reported to be more common in Singapore kids, and about the new treatment that helps delay its progression.
What is myopia?
According to Dr Gerard Nah, Medical Director of the W Eye Clinic, myopia is a condition that results in the eye being unable to focus on objects from a distance. “It could be due to either the eyeball being too long, or the optical system of the eye being disproportionately powerful,” he added.
As such images come to focus even before they reach the retina (the nerve layer of the eye made up of special sensors). This doesn’t cause problems when viewing images up close, but as the image gets further away, it becomes blurred and hard to view.
Dr Nah shares that childhood myopia refers to the occurrence of myopia that develops in kids and teenagers below the age of 16.
Myopia in Singapore kids
While myopia is a common vision problem in kids worldwide, it is more prevalent in children of Asian descent.
A 2012 study led by Ian Morgan and a team of researchers from the Australian National University shows that up to 90% of kids and young adults in major East Asian countries, including China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, are nearsighted. Meanwhile, the overall rate of myopia in the U.K. is only about 20% to 30%.
Morgan believes that this is due to the great pressure on Asian children to succeed in school, which leads to kids spending too much time reading books indoors and not enough time being exposed to natural sunlight.
Find out more about the new treatment that helps to delay the progression of myopia in Singapore kids – next page please…
New treatment for myopia in Singapore kids
Dr Nah shares that one of the latest solutions to treating myopia is in the form of atropine, a plant-based drug that acts on the body’s muscarinic receptors.
Recent studies in Singapore showed that the use of atropine eye drops helped to reduce the progression of myopia by as much as 60%. This means that if the average increase of myopia in a child is by 1 Dioptre (100 degrees) per year, with the use of atropine eye drops he would now only experience an increase of 0.4 Dioptres (40 degrees) yearly.
“In the past, eye drops with higher concentrations of atropine were associated with unpopular side effects – dilated pupils and deep relaxation of the eye’s internal muscles.
“However, the latest studies using lower concentration atropine eye drops (at 0.01%) resulted in negligible side effects and at 2 years, the effect was effectively the same as the drops of higher concentration. The rebound of myopia progression was also reduced significantly with the 0.01% atropine drops compared to the higher concentrations,” Dr Nah explained.
Read about the non-drug based treatment methods for myopia on the next page.
Orthokeratology - contact lenses to control myopia
If you are leaning towards non-drug based treatments to reduce your child's myopia progression, there are 2 options to consider: Orthokeratology (OK) and spectacle lenses.
Orthokeratology (OK) is the overnight use of a special type of contact lenses (made from rigid gas permeable material) to reshape the cornea to correct myopia and astigmatism. This typically frees a myopic person from having to put on corrective glasses, and studies have shown that OK can reduce the progression of myopia by up to 40%.
On the other hand, there are also spectacles with Myovision lenses that have been designed to help control myopia progression. The mechanism of these lenses functions in the same way as that of the OK treatment.
Is it possible to combine treatments?
According to Dr Nah, atropine drops with a 0.01% concentration can be combined with OK or spectacle lenses to treat myopia and slow down its progression. He added that although it may not be possible to heal one's myopic condition completely, combining the various treatment methods can potentially slow down the progression more effectively compared with a single therapy method.
Want to know more about the various treatments for myopia? Click on the next page...
Here’s your chance to find out more about the various treatment methods for myopia that you can consider for your kids.
There will be an exclusive Myopia Forum organised by W Eye Clinic on the following date and time:
Date: 28th June 2014
Venue: W Optics (Educational Area) - Suntec City Mall #01-400
Registration is FREE, so do RSVP your attendance by visiting here.
About W Eye Clinic and Dr Gerard Nah
The W Eye Clinic is headed by Medical Director Dr Gerard Nah, who has over 20 years of experience in Opthalmology, with a special interest in Cornea and Refractive Surgery.
Dr Nah was previously the Head of the Singapore Air Force’s Aeromedical Centre; he also co-founded the Singapore Armed Forces’ Vision Performance Centre, where he developed the SAF’s Warfighter Refractive Surgery programmes to enhance the eyesight of servicemen. He was a former visiting consultant to the National University Hospital, the Alexandra Hospital and Jurong Medical Centre. Dr Nah had also served on the steering committee for the National Myopia Prevention Programme.
His treatment philosophy is to maximise vision performance, whilst maintaining the highest standards of safety.