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When it comes to exercise in Singapore, the 'eyes' have it

November 6, 1996
Web posted at: 2:50 p.m. EST (1950 GMT)

SINGAPORE (CNN) -- The Problem: Many Singaporean children suffer from poor eyesight. The Solution? "Eye-robics".

Every morning before assembly, thousands of Singapore school children stand in neat rows in the playground, rubbing and rolling their eyes to music. Other students do the eye exercises in classrooms.

It's the latest fad in Singapore and it's aimed at improving eyesight.

Teachers say the daily exercises, which were introduced in many schools across the island over the last few months, help improve blood circulation, relax the eye muscles and reduce eye strain.

At Bukit Merah Primary School, students mix eye-robics with regular exercise, all done to the soothing sounds of music and under the watchful eye of the principal, Chen Shao Chern.

"According to feedback from teachers and pupils, after exercise they feel very good and relaxed. And they told us they don't get tired so easily, I think this will help their performance in the school because they can read for longer hours," said Chen.

According to a recent study by the Ministry of Health, 30 to 50 percent of children in Singapore suffered some sort of eye problem by age 12.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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