Segamat Paediatric Eye Disease Study (SEGPAEDS)
Segamat Paediatric Eye Disease Study (SEGPAEDS) is a collaborative study between the Ministry of Health, Malaysia and the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO)/Monash University. This study involved a total of 1,300 students from 46 kindergartens, for instance, “Tabika Kemas”, “Tabika Perpaduan” and private kindergartens around the Segamat area. The paediatric ophthalmologist and optometrist from Hospital Kuala Lumpur eye department used this opportunity to study the causes of visual impairment in this unique cohort of children in our country, looking at vision and other eye abnormalities between the ages of 4-6 years. This eye study was established to understand visual impairment, refractive errors (lazy eyes) and strabismus (squints). Having analysed the preliminary data, there is a need for pre-schoolers in all kindergartens to be screened at the age of 4 years. The pre-school years are a time for development and correction of a child’s vision which carries through for the rest his or her life. Steps taken during these years will help to ensure that vision develops normally and would provide a good “head start” for the school-going years. The study received media attention and was published in the local newspapers.