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Education and Myopia in Young Singaporean Males


KG Au Eong





Singapore Medical Journal


  • Singapore has one of the highest prevalences of myopia (79.3%) and severe myopia (13.1%), with Chinese having higher rates (82.2%, 95% confidence interval 81.5, 82.9) compared with Indians (68.7%, 95% confidence interval 65.1, 67.1) and Malays (65.0%, 95% confidence interval 62.9, 67.1).

  • Education was strongly associated with prevalence and severity of myopia. However, significant interethnic variation persisted after adjusting for education.

  • Although prevalence and severity of myopia were strongly associated with education, interethnic variation observed was not fully explained by differences in education level.


Computerised data of 110,236 Singaporean males aged 15 to 25 (mean 17.75) years who underwent compulsory medical examination from April 1987 to January 1992 were used to estimate the prevalence and severity of myopia among young Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian Singaporean males with different educational levels.

The prevalence and severity of myopia amongst the groups with different educational levels were compared. These groups were fairly well-matched for important known confounding factors such as age, sex, race and degree of urbanisation of place of residence.

Data showed a positive association between educational attainment and both the prevalence and severity of myopia. Both the prevalence of myopia and the proportion of myopes with severe myopia were in general higher among those with more years of formal education.