Disparities between myopia levels in Singapore and Australia were explored at the International Myopia Conference in Birmingham (Aston University, 14–17 September).
Australian researcher, Scott Read, from the Queensland University of Technology, told delegates that approximately 60% of eight to 12-year-olds in Singapore are myopic, compared with only 14% of Australian children in the same age group.
“Singapore children have some of the highest myopia levels in the world,” he emphasised.
Professor Read’s research team recruited children from each country for a study where their daily exposure to outdoor light was measured using wearable light sensors.
Light exposure information was collected from 69 Singaporean children aged between eight and 12, and 43 Australian children living in Brisbane aged between 10 and 12.
Daily outdoor light exposure in Singapore children was lower than in Australian children.
On average, children living in Singapore spent just 61 minutes outside each day compared with 105 minutes of daily outdoor time for Australian children.
Australian children with myopia spent less time each day outdoors (85 minutes) than their non-myopic peers (121 minutes).
There was no significant difference in the amount of time spent outdoors between myopic and non-myopic Singaporean children.
Professor Read concluded that the light exposure differences between children living in Singapore and Australia may have implications for the disparities in myopia prevalence in the two countries.
The International Myopia Conference saw 315 delegates converge on Aston University for the four-day event, which featured 45 oral presentations and more than 150 poster presentations.