Free eye screening for Tampines residents to raise awareness about age-related eye diseases

Clockwise from top-left: Vision with cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration. Photo: Our Eyes for Life

by Koh Hui Xin

Tampines residents aged 40 to 60 are eligible to register for free eye screenings held at Tampines Mall on February 24.

This initiative is part of the Our Eyes for Life campaign, launched by four students from the Nanyang Technological University.

Our Eyes for Life aims to raise awareness for those aged 40 to 60 about the importance of attending regular eye screenings to enable early detection of potentially sight-threatening eye conditions. It also hopes to strengthen public understanding of the four major age-related eye diseases in Singapore: Cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

This is the first time a student-run campaign focuses on age-related eye diseases and eye screenings for people aged 40 to 60. The students were inspired to focus on eye health after realising that all of their parents have suffered from some form of eye disease.

A survey conducted on 216 Tampines residents found that only 15.7% of respondents were aware of all the four eye diseases stated above. Further, 57.9% had not attended an eye screening since they turned 40. Of those who do go for screenings, only 55.2% followed the Singapore Optometrists and Opticians Board (OOB)’s recommendation to do so at least once every two years.

Focus Group Discussions held with Tampines residents aged 40 to 60 also showed that participants do not know what the diseases manifest to look like even though they might have heard of some of the disease names before.

Photo: Our Eyes for Life

Tampines was chosen as the pilot site for the campaign as it has the fourth-most number of people in the 40 to 59 age group.

“With Singapore’s ageing population, the prevalence of age-related eye diseases is expected to rise exponentially,” said Professor Ecosse Lamoureux, Head of Health Services Research, Singapore Eye Research Institute.

“With many eye diseases not showing obvious symptoms during the early stages, eye screenings are vital for the early detection of such diseases. We would recommend people aged 40 and above to go for eye screenings especially if there is a history of eye diseases in the family,” he added.

The free eye screening session is held in collaboration with the Singapore Optometric Association. It is sponsored by Essilor International Research and Development (R&D) and powered by the National Youth Council’s Young ChangeMakers Grant.

It will be conducted on February 24, at Tampines Mall, Open Plaza, level 4 from 10am to 5pm. Only Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents who live in Tampines can register for the free eye screening.

A series of talks by professionals on eye diseases will also be conducted on that day from 11am to 12:30pm. The talks are opened to the public and prior registration is not required.

Online registration for the free eye screening can be done here. Alternatively, registration forms are available at Our Tampines Hub, Public Service Centre, level 1. Registration closes February 20 at 6pm.

More information can be found on Our Eyes for Life’s Facebook page here.

Photo: Our Eyes for Life

Correction: An earlier version stated that free eye screening session is held in collaboration with the OOB. It should be the Singapore Optometric Association.