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The Impact of Corrected and Uncorrected Refractive Error on Visual Functioning : the Singapore Malay Eye Study
Ecosse Lamoureux
Additional author(s): Seang-Mei Saw, Julian Thumboo, Hwee Lin Wee Tin Aung, Paul Mitchell & Tien Y Wong
Sponsor/Institution: The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Publication: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science

KEY POINTS

  • The Singapore Malay Eye Study was undertaken to determine the prevalence and impact of vision impairment and major eye diseases in urban Asian populations. Approximately one quarter of Singaporean Malays have myopia.
  • The study shows that although corrected myopia and hyperopia do not affect visual functioning, uncorrected myopia is associated with decreased visual function.
  • As myopia has a negative impact on self-esteem, career choice, and ocular health, interventions that correct myopia could improve participation in daily living and other aspects of Quality of Life in people with uncorrected myopia.
  • Myopia is potentially fully correctable by spectacles or contact lenses. Strategies that inform people of the benefits of proper correction are needed.
  • The long-term benefits of full correction of myopia may include improved visual functioning and Quality of Life.

SUMMARY

Refractive errors are common eye conditions affecting a large proportion of the adult population, particularly in Asian countries. Myopia, a frequent type of refractive error, appears more prevalent in Asians than in Caucasians. A prevalence of high myopia of 28% and 26.2%, has been recorded in Singaporeans of Chinese and Malay origins, respectively.

Persons with myopia remain at risk for conditions caused by excessive axial elongation. Similarly, high myopia is a predisposing factor for retinal detachment, myopic retinopathy, myopic maculopathy, and glaucoma.

Uncorrected refractive error is associated with decreased vision-related quality of life and increasing difficulty in performing vision-related tasks. In a recent Australian study, it was shown that myopia corrected with spectacles or contact lenses has a negative impact on some aspects of vision-dependent Quality of Life (QoL). This study was limited, however, by a relatively low prevalence of myopia and a small sample of subjects with myopia.

In Asian countries where the prevalence of myopia is high, improving our understanding of the impact of myopia on vision-specific QoL can contribute to more effective intervention trials, which can be of benefit to large sections of the population

The Singapore Malay Eye Study was undertaken to determine the prevalence and impact of vision impairment and major eye diseases in urban Asian populations. Approximately one quarter of Singaporean Malays have myopia.

In this article, we report on the impact of corrected or uncorrected myopia and hyperopia on overall and specific aspects of visual functioning. This information is fundamental to improving our understanding of the impact of uncorrected refractive error on vision-dependent participation in daily living and to establish the need for and type of intervention programs for individuals with these refractive errors.

Link to study: http://www.iovs.org/content/50/6/2614.full?sid=ce40bd3d-7dbd-462d-85eb-8f21ab3603ca

Published in 2009

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