Increasing Nearsightedness During This Pandemic

The Pandemic and Nearsightedness

During this pandemic, albeit less people are coming out for their annual vision check-up; we have been seeing kids with eye grade of -0.50D 2 years ago, to a -3.00 D now. To put things in perspective, that is 10 steps increase in 2 years. The average increase per year is usually 1 to 2 steps.  A study conducted by researchers from the Hong Kong School of Ophthalmology linked the COVID-19 pandemic to an increase in myopia among young children.1 During the pandemic, the prevalence of myopia was almost 26 percent. It was more than 3 times higher than the pre-pandemic rate.

The pandemic has forced everyone to be in a bubble, with the eyes receiving a lot of toll from constant near work.  Being in the 4 walls of the house prevents a lot of children and teens to have the recommended 90mins daily outdoor activity that was supposed to help in preventing eye elongation which translates to increasing in nearsightedness. Zhang et al. study showed that during the pandemic, there was a decrease in outdoor time spent and an increased to screen time from 2 -4 hours  to a 6- 10 hours. 1

What are the Risk of Having Progressive Nearsightedness

In fact, a lot of these kids do not notice their eyes are becoming blurry, mainly because many gen z’s and generation alpha do not watch television anymore. All resort to their digital gadgets for entertainment and so there is typically less opportunity for them to look far. So what does it mean if the grade keeps on increasing? An additional -1.00 D or 4 steps increase in nearsightedness has a 40% increased risk of myopic maculopathy in the person’s lifetime. 2


Nearsighted Control in Kids Can Be Done

This is the best time to consider doing nearsighted control. It may not be possible to stop nearsighted increase, but we can surely slow down the progression of their eye grade. Methods we used to control nearsightedness are special design contact lenses such as orthokeratology, multifocal contact lenses, special designed glasses. Discussions were done in our previous blog Myopia or Nearsighted Control


How to Know If My Child Is At Risk of Nearsighted Progression

Know the risk of your kid’s to nearsighted progression in My Kids Vision.




  1. Zhang X, Cheung SSL, Chan HN, et al. Myopia incidence and lifestyle changes among school children during the COVID-19 pandemic: a population-based prospective study. Br J Ophthalmol. 2021 Aug 2:bjophthalmol-2021-319307. doi:10.1136/bjophthalmol-2021-319307.
  2. Bullimore, Mark A. MCOptom, PhD, FAAO1*; Brennan, Noel A. MScOptom, PhD, FAAO2 Myopia Control: Why Each Diopter Matters, Optometry and Vision Science: June 2019 – Volume 96 – Issue 6 – p 463-465

    This pandemic has caused a lot of kids to have increasing eye grade

Know the risk of your kid’s to nearsighted progression in My Kids Vision.



Myopia or Nearsighted Control

Myopia Control Clinic

What is myopia or nearsightedness?
This is where you see blurry at far, but clear at near. It is usually due to a longer eyeball length.

The environment plays a significant role for one to develop myopia. The risk becomes higher when 1 or 2 of the parents have myopia. In the old days, when your child’s grade increases, regular glasses or contact lenses were given. However, these were not beneficial in stabilizing the eye grade.

Why do we need to control nearsightedness?
Vision threatening conditions such as retinal degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, and retinal detachment can develop due to nearsightedness. That is why every 1 Diopter (grade of 100) counts. Every 1 Diopter reduction of nearsightedness can reduce the risk of myopia maculopathy by 40%, primary open-angle glaucoma by 20%, and retinal detachment by 30%.

At Gold Heart Optical, we use different ways of controlling the nearsightedness of patients:

Option 1. Soft Bifocal /Progressive Contact Lenses. These contact lenses were initially designed to help people with presbyopia (loss of ability to see at near when they get to above 40 years of age) to see objects clearly at distance and near. Studies show that this has up to 50% efficacy in controlling nearsightedness.

Option 2. Soft Daytime Ortho-K Contact Lenses. These soft contact lenses mimic the design of overnight orthokeratology. There is a change in the prescription towards the edge of the lens, which allows the light to enter the eye to focus on the correct areas, enabling the nearsightedness to be more stable.

Option 3. Overnight Ortho-K Contact Lenses. These contact lenses are worn while sleeping to reshape the cornea (the transparent part of the front of the eye). Patients can see clearly during the day without contact lenses. Research suggests that these contact lenses optically alter the eye in a way that slows nearsightedness progression. In our clinic, we fit this for patients younger than 18 years old. For older patients, we recommend using option 1 or 2. Effectivity of this system is up to 50%.

Option 4. Specially Designed Eyeglass Lenses. Not all patients will have good results with them. But this option is better than conventional single vision glasses. A particular group of patients may have good results with them.

When should we stop nearsighted control?
It was previously mentioned that nearsightedness stops progressing when the patient gets to 17 -18 years of age. However, we continuously see young adults with increasing eye grade. In this population,

A thorough evaluation is needed for us to recommend the best option for your child.

Book your appointment with us at 09215452389 or

Nearsightedness: Control and Prevention

There is a myopia (nearsightedness) epidemic happening in so many countries all over the world. Patients we see with myopia in the clinic are becoming younger and younger. Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong have seen the most childhood myopia in their statistics, and Philippines has been following their footsteps. Clinical trials are being done by top scientists in order to find means to control myopia and prevent it from happening. Currently, myopia control can be achieved with specially designed contact lenses and ophthalmic lenses. But what is also important is to control some environmental factors that can cause the progression of myopia. Kids will say that you want to blame your parents for giving you myopia, but studies show that 78.4% in 15- year old children are myopic, compared with only 19.8% in parents… this means environment really plays a big role. Indeed times have changed. Some kids do not even know how to play dolls or cars or robots… And whether you want to admit it or not, some parents are guilty of giving their children Ipads or mobile phones to play games to keep them busy and be quiet. Digital devices are the modern pacifiers. Even in attending reunion parties, you will see relatives with head down tinkering with their mobile phones than having decent conversations with their loved ones. I am not saying that I am not guilty of some of these things by the way.


Gold Heart Optical Centre Nearsightedness Myopia

Here are some tips as to how to avoid your glasses or your children’s to get thicker by the coming years.  Prevention of nearsightedness is the key.  

  1. GO OUT & PLAY – Myopia prevalence was significantly higher in the Singaporean residents vs Australian (29.1% vs 3.3%). Children in Australia spent 13.75 hours per week outdoors vs Singaporean children who spent approximately 3.05 hours per week outdoors. Sunlight has its role–Dopamine and Vitamin D are being considered in restraining eye growth.
  2. Vision Breaks 20-20-20 – For every 20 minutes of near task, look as far as you can for 20 seconds as far as 20 feet.
  3. Appropriate Reading Distance/Distance From Gadgets – Use the “Harmon Distance” when reading, writing, and doing other close work. The distance between the eyes and the task is the distance from the elbow and middle knuckle.
  4. Use appropriate lighting at all times.
  5. Have regular vision examinations.
  6. Do not abuse your eyes with digital devices use.
  7. Eat a balance diet.


Why is it important to control myopia progression?

It is important to control myopia progression as high myopes have greater risks for glaucoma, retinal detachment, and other retinal conditions.