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S.–M.M. Saw, P.–P. Goh, A. Cheng, A. Shankar, D.T. H. Tan, L. Ellwein; Differences in Ethnic–Specific Myopia Rates in Two Adjacent Countries: Malaysia and Singapore . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(13):1159.
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To compare the prevalence rates of ethnic–specific myopia rates in two adjacent countries, Malaysia and Singapore.
Children aged 7 to 9 years from 3 schools in the Singapore Cohort study of the Risk factors for Myopia (SCORM) in urban Singapore city (n=1962) and a random cluster sampling of similarly aged children in the suburban area of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the Refractive Error Study in Children (RESC) (n=1752) were compared. Cycloplegic autorefraction was conducted in both countries.
The prevalence of myopia (either eye spherical equivalent at least –0.5 Diopters) was higher in Singapore Malays (22.1%) compared with Malays in Malaysia (9.2%) [95% confidence interval (CI) of difference = 11.2, 14.7]. Similarly, Singapore Chinese (40.1%) had higher prevalence rates compared with Malaysian Chinese (30.9%) (95% CI of difference = 1.5, 16.9). Singapore Indians had a higher prevalence (34.1%) than Malaysian Indians (12.5%) (95% CI of difference = 17.4, 25.9). Ethnic–specific astigmatism and hyperopia rates did not differ in Singapore and Malaysia, except for higher astigmatism rates in Singapore Malays compared with Malaysian Malays.
The ethnicity–specific prevalence rates of myopia in Singapore are higher than Malaysia. Because Malays, Chinese and Indians in Malaysia have similar genetic predispositions compared with Malays, Chinese and Indians in Singapore, dissimilar environments may contribute to the differences in myopia rates.
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