Some FAQs related to Myopia

1. What is myopia?

Myopia is commonly known as “short-sightedness”. A person with myopia is able to see close objects clearly but objects that are further away will appear blurred.

2. What are the causes of myopia?

The factors that cause the development of myopia are not clearly known. Research studies have shown that both genetic and environmental factors may contribute to myopia. It is known that if one or both parents have myopia, the risk of the child having myopia is increased. Excessive near work may also contribute to the development of myopia while outdoor play may protect against myopia.

3. Can myopia be cured?

Currently, there is no cure for myopia. Spectacles or contact lenses are needed to correct it in order to see distant objects clearly.

Laser surgery such as LASIK does not cure myopia. The procedure shapes the cornea to act like a focusing lens. It does not treat the elongated myopic eyeball. Also, LASIK is rarely performed in children as their eyes are still developing.

4. What is near work?

This term is used to describe visual activities performed at a close distance, where a person needs to look at or focus on fine details of an object. Examples of near work are reading, writing, using the computer, drawing/painting, sewing, doing craft work with small objects and playing hand-held games.

5. How often should my child take breaks between doing near work and what can he/she do to relax the eyes?
Encourage your child to take breaks after 30 to 40 minutes of continuous near work. He/she can look at distant objects or out of a window for three to five minutes. Alternatively, encourage your child to go outdoors for activities such as ball games or simply taking a stroll in the park. These activities are beneficial to your child’s general health too.

6. Is it necessary for my child to wear spectacles if he/she is slightly myopic?
Your child should still wear corrective lens as they can help prevent him/her from squinting and straining the eyes. With the help of spectacles, light rays can fall properly on the retina to form a clearer image.

7. Will wearing spectacles all the time worsen my child’s myopic condition?
No, there is no evidence that wearing spectacles worsens myopia. In fact, children younger than eight years old who have myopia should wear spectacles at all times to prevent amblyopia.  

8. Does the colour green have a soothing effect on the eyes?
There is no scientific evidence that the colour green produces a soothing effect on the eyes or helps prevent myopia.

9. Can  regular eye massages have a soothing effect on the eyes?

There is no scientific evidence that doing eye massages can help prevent myopia.

10.Some believe that washing your eyes with drops of coconut milk or any rose water will clean the eyes and prevent myopia. Is this true?

It is not recommended to administer anything in your eyes unless upon a medical professional’s advice.
11. If myopia is partly hereditary, does it still help to practise good eye care habits?
Yes, it is still important to practise good eye care habits to protect against and/or slow down the onset of myopia. Good eye care habits also help those who already have myopia to prevent or delay its progression.

Article contributed by Health Promotion Board.

For more information on Myopia, visit the Health Promotion Board website.