HPB uses app to try curbing childhood myopia

Myopia screening tool and parental management application plano, has struck a deal with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) in a bid to reduce the onset and progression of childhood myopia.

Following the deal, parents and students will be encouraged to use the plano app to cultivate good eye care habits to prevent the onset and progression of Myopia. This is part of the annual vision screening conducted by HPB in schools under the National Myopia Prevention Programme. The partnership also looks to set an example of HPB expanding the reach and impact of its health promotion programmes through the use of technology.

In the development of plano, extensive feedback was taken to ensure that that the app is fit for its purpose. As a result, the app features live interventions to correct unhealthy device usage such as prolonged screen time use. In addition, it is able to actively monitor how close the screen is the eyes, and prompt the use to adjust their posture, accumulating points. These points can thus be use to redeem for monetary discounts.

According to Mo Dirani, managing director of plano, the prevalence of myopia in Singapore is among the highest in the world. Thus, the partnership with HPB will be a pivotal step for plano to have greater reach to school children, raise awareness and complement the existing efforts to better manage myopia. Active use of the app would also help to improve overall quality of life among children.

“This new partnership with plano is part of HPB’s efforts to continuously explore new ways to encourage and equip Singaporeans to lead healthier lives through the use of technology," Veronica Tay, deputy director of the National Myopia Prevention Programme and Student Health Centre of Health Promotion Board said.

She added that this collaboration with plano extends HPB work in preventing the onset and progression of childhood myopia. "Beyond our vision screening in schools and public education efforts to promote good eye care habits, we can now involve parents more actively in cultivating good eye care habits in their children. Parents will now have the ability for smart monitoring of their children’s usage of electronic devices, at their convenience,” Tay explained.

Plano was first conceptualised and developed by the Singapore Eye Research Institute-Singapore National Eye Centre's (SERI-SNEC) Ophthalmic Technologies Incubator Programme, with support from the National Health Innovation Centre (NHIC). This was conceptualised after recognising the significant public health implications of childhood myopia.

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