Prevalence of refractive errors in teenage high school students in Singapore

Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2004 Jan;24(1):47-55. doi: 10.1046/j.1475-1313.2003.00166.x.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Anisometropia / epidemiology
  • Astigmatism / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperopia / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Myopia / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Reading
  • Refractive Errors / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires