July 26th, 2017
Despite being such a common sight, there’s actually very little we know about myopia. In fact, science can’t come up with a definitive answer on what causes it. Even the Singapore National Eye Centre, can only state that short-sightedness is a complex disease that results from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. There’s quite possibly no simple and concrete answer to this riddle. That hasn’t stopped a myriad of old wives’ tales to spring in its place, causing many to act from misinformation. Just what about myopia is fact and which is just plain fiction? We’re here to bust some myths about myopia once and for all.
False: Sitting too close to the television will harm your eyes
An enduring piece of advice, but a myopia myth no less. Viewing the television from a close distance won’t damage eyes, but may cause eye strain. Unlike adults, children can focus at a close distance without straining their eyes, which is why most of them develop the habit of sitting right in front when they get a chance.
False: Reading in dim light causes your eyesight to worsen
Despite being touted as a universal truth, children who delight in reading under the covers under the torchlight will be happy to know that this is just a piece of fiction. While it does cause short-term eye fatigue, there’s no scientific evidence that it does long-term damage to your eyes.
True: We inherit myopia
Myopia isn’t hereditary like physical traits are, but it definitely plays a role in contributing to shortsightedness. According to SingHealth.com, a child is twice as likely to develop myopia if one parent is myopic and eight times more likely if both parents are.
False: Wearing glasses makes myopia worse
If your child has been prescribed glasses for shortsightedness, it’s better that they wear them. Trying to see distant objects without them will only strain their eyes even further and tire them out.
Somewhat True: Eye drops improve myopia
While there isn’t a magic cure for myopia, atropine eye drops have been proven to help treat the disease. Since the 1990s, the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has been using atropine eye drops to treat myopia. Studies have shown that using a low-dose 0.01% atropine eye drops can slow the progression of myopia by 50 – 60% over two years.
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