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Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2004 Jan;24(1):47-55.

Prevalence of refractive errors in teenage high school students in Singapore.

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Department of Community, Occupational and Family Medicine, National University of Singapore, 16 Medical Drive, Singapore 117597, Republic of Singapore.


We aimed to study the prevalence of refractive conditions in Singapore teenagers. Grade 9 and 10 students (n = 946) aged 15-19 years from two secondary schools in Singapore were recruited. The refractive errors of the students' eyes were measured using non-cycloplegic autorefraction. Sociodemographic data and information on risk factors for myopia (such as reading and writing) were also obtained using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. The prevalence of refractive conditions was found to be: myopia [spherical equivalent (SE) at least -0.50 D] - 73.9%, hyperopia (SE at least +0.50 D) - 1.5%, astigmatism (cylinder at least -0.50 D) - 58.7% and anisometropia (SE difference at least 1.00 D) - 11.2%. After adjusting for age and gender, currently doing more than 20.5 h of reading and writing a week was found to be positively associated with myopia [odds ratio 1.12 (95% CI 1.04-1.20, p = 0.003)], as was reading and writing at a close distance and a better educational stream. The prevalence of myopia (73.9%) in Singapore teenagers is high. Current reading and writing habits, reading at close distances and a better educational stream are possible risk factors for myopia.

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