Aims: To estimate the direct costs of myopia in Singapore children.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of 377 Singaporean school children aged 12-17 years from one school in Singapore Cohort study of the Risk factors for Myopia (SCORM) was conducted. A combination of parent and self-administered questionnaires asked about the cost of each optometrist visit, spectacles, and contact lenses, transport costs, father's educational level, and total family income.
Results: A total of 377 subjects participated and cost data were available from 301 subjects. The mean annual direct cost of myopia was S$221.7+/-313.7 (CI, S$186.5-258.1) or US$147.8+/-209.1 (CI, US$124.3-172.1) and median annual direct cost of myopia was S$125.0 or US$83.3. The mean cost per pair of spectacles was S$123.2+/-61.2 (CI, S$116.6-129.8) or US$82.1+/-40.8 (CI, US$77.8-86.5). Sixty subjects (15.9%) wore contact lenses. The mean annual cost of contact lenses was S$567.1+/-565.7 (CI, S$422.2-712.0) or US$378.1+/-377.1 (CI, US$281.4-474.6). Subjects of families with higher total family income and those with fathers with secondary or higher education had higher annual direct expenditure (P=0.03 and P=0.001 respectively). Subjects from families with higher household incomes had higher frequency of change of spectacles (P=0.02) and shorter time since the last change of spectacles (P=0.03).
Conclusions: The mean annual direct cost of myopia for Singapore school children was S$221.68 (US$148) and the median, S$125.00 (US$83.33) per subject. Myopia is associated with significant financial burden in Singapore.