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Singapore Med J. 1993 Feb;34(1):29-32.

Race, culture and Myopia in 110,236 young Singaporean males.

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Medical Classification Centre, Central Manpower Base, Singapore Armed Forces.


Computerised data of 110,236 Singaporean males aged 15 to 25 (mean 17.75) years who underwent compulsory medical examination from April 1987 to January 1992 was used to estimate the prevalence of myopia among young Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian Singaporean males. The prevalence of myopia amongst the different racial groups was compared after they had been matched for important known confounding factors such as age, sex, educational attainment and degree of urbanization of place of residence. The estimated myopia prevalence was 48.5% in Chinese, 34.7% in Eurasians, 30.4% in Indians and 24.5% in Malays. The overall myopia prevalence rate for all races combined was 44.2%. Within each educational group, the Chinese generally had the highest myopia prevalence whilst the Malays generally had the lowest. Myopia prevalence among the Indians tended to be between that of the Chinese and the Malays. Having matched the various racial groups for age, sex, educational attainment and degree of residential urbanization, it would appear that racial and cultural differences are major influences responsible for the difference in myopia prevalence observed amongst the different races.

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