Myopia and educational attainment in 421,116 young Singaporean males

Ann Acad Med Singap. 1992 Nov;21(6):785-91.


Data of 421,116 Singaporean males aged 15 to 25 (mean 17.75) years who underwent compulsory medical examination in 1974-84 and 1987-91 were used to estimate the prevalence of myopia and to study the correlation between the prevalence and severity of myopia and educational attainment. The estimated myopia prevalence rate was 26.3% in 1974-84 and 43.3% in 1987-91. This rise in the rate was accompanied by an increase in the proportion of males who achieved higher levels of education over the same period. The overall myopia prevalence rate was 30.4%. Both the prevalence and severity of myopia were higher as the level of education attained increased. The myopia prevalence rate was 15.4% in males with no formal education and increased steadily through groups with intermediate education to 65.2% among those with GCE 'A' level education, 57.5% among diploma holders and 65.1% among university graduates in 1987-91. Seventy out of 173 (40%) myopes with no formal education compared to 1035 out of 1612 (64%) myopes with university degrees had unaided visual acuity worse than 6/60 in 1987-91. Our findings confirm indications from other sources that the association between the prevalence and severity of myopia and education attainment is real. A combination of genetic and environmental factors may be the cause of this association.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Myopia / epidemiology*
  • Myopia / etiology
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Visual Acuity