Prevalence and risk factors for refractive errors in the Singapore Malay Eye Survey

Ophthalmology. 2008 Oct;115(10):1713-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2008.03.016. Epub 2008 May 16.


Purpose: To describe the prevalence and risk factors for myopia and other refractive errors in an urban Malay population in Singapore.

Design: Population-based, cross-sectional study.

Participants: Persons of Malay ethnicity, between 40 and 80 years of age, living in Singapore.

Methods: Refractive error was determined by subjective refraction and if unavailable by autorefraction. Data were analyzed for 2974 adults without previous cataract surgery and who had right eye refraction data. Risk factor data, such as education levels and near work activity, were obtained from a face-to-face interview.

Main outcome measures: Myopia, defined as spherical equivalent (SE) refraction less than -0.5 diopters (D), astigmatism as cylinder less than -0.5 D, hyperopia as SE greater than 0.5 D, and anisometropia as the difference in SE greater than 1.0 D.

Results: The prevalence of myopia in the right eye was 30.7% (9.4% unilateral myopia and 21.3% bilateral myopia), the prevalence of astigmatism in the right eye was 33.3% (95% confidence interval [CI, 33.0-33.5), the prevalence of hyperopia in the right eye was 27.4% (95% CI, 24.7-27.6), and the prevalence of anisometropia was 9.9% (95% CI, 9.7-10.0). There was a U-shaped relationship between increasing age and the prevalence of myopia, which was partially explained by the age-related increase in the prevalence of cataract. In a multiple logistic regression model, female sex, age, higher educational level, and cataract were associated with myopia. Adults with myopia were more likely to have astigmatism (P<0.001) in multivariate analyses.

Conclusions: A quarter of older adult Malay people in Singapore had myopia. Compared with previous reports of similarly aged Singapore Chinese adults, the prevalence of myopia, astigmatism, and anisometropia was lower, whereas the prevalence of hyperopia was similar.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People / ethnology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Refractive Errors / ethnology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data