Banner Image for Directory


Saw Seang Mei


Co-Head, Myopia Research, Singapore Eye Research Institute

Professor, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore


Contact: 65164976

Education Qualifications: MBBS, MPH, PhD, FAMS

Professor Saw Seang-Mei is the SERI Professor of Ophthalmology Research, Head of the Myopia Unit at Singapore Eye Research Institute, Professor of Epidemiology at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Deputy Co-Chair (Biomedical) of the NUS Institutional Review Board. She received her MBBS degree from the National University of Singapore and both her MPH and PhD from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prof Saw is internationally recognized as one of the leading researchers in the myopia field made major observations and key discoveries in the field of the epidemiology of myopia, characterising the environmental, genetic and anatomical predictors of myopia in children and adults in Singapore and worldwide. She is the Principal Investigator of the Singapore Cohort study Of the Research factors for Myopia (SCORM), the STrabismus, Amblyopia and Refractive error study in Singapore preschool children (STARS) and Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) Myopia birth cohort. She has published more than 550 peer-reviewed international scientific manuscripts, and has published in several high impact journals include the Lancet and Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Prof Saw is the PI and Co-I of grants totalling > $15 million from the A*Star, NMRC, EDB, and industry. Prof Saw has developed new gadgets including a fitness tracker for myopia prevention and treatments for myopia. Prof Saw has an H-Index of 111 (Google Scholar), with papers attracting more than 3,500 citations per year, each year over the past 5 years and a total of more than 43,000 citations. She mentors and supervises > 20 clinician scientists, post-doctoral research fellows, PhD and MPH students. Her main teaching area is in Epidemiology, Research Skills and Biostatistics.

Professor Saw is the Associate Editor, Translational Vision Science and Technology (TVST) and Editorial Board member of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (IOVS) and the Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology (APJO).  Professor Saw was the past Chair of the 11th International Myopia Conference held from 16th to 18th August, 2006 in Singapore, and is past Chair (2010) of the Program Committee, Clinical/Epidemiologic section, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).


  • Power List: The Top 100 Women in Ophthalmology. The Ophthalmologist (2021)
  • The Asian Scientist Top 100 list (2020)
  • 2019 Bernard Gilmartin OPO Award, College of Optometry, UK (2019)
  • SERI Professor in Ophthalmology Research (2019)
  • President's Science Award, PSA (TEAM) (2019)
  • Academy of Asia-Pacific Professors of Ophthalmology (2019) 
  • Outstanding Researcher Award, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore (2017)
  • Outstanding Service in Prevention of Blindness Award, Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) (2016)
  • Achievement Award, Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) (2015)
  • NUHS-MochtarRiady Pinnacle Excellence Award (2015)
  • Gold Fellow Award, The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) (2015)
  • Bernard Gilmartin OPO Award, College of Optometry, United Kingdom (2014)
  • Annals Gold Publication Award, Annals Academy of Medicine (Singapore) (2014)
  • World's Top 100 influential people in Ophthalmology by the Ophthalmologists (2014)
  • Chew Sek Jin Memorial Lecture Award, International Myopia Conference (2013)
  • Achievement Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) (2009)
  • Faculty Researcher Excellence Award, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (2009)
  • Great Women of our Times Award, Science and Technology Category, Singapore (2006)
  • Garland W. Clay Award (2006)
  • Edward Clarence Dyason Universitis 21 Award (2005)
  • Geshin Mohn ARVO Travel Grant (2002)
  • Jeans Coombs Award Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health (1998)

Research Interests:

  • Epidemiology, gene-environment interaction, genetics of myopia and other eye diseases.
  • Epidemiology, and quality of life of chronic diseases.

Selected Publications:

Genome-wide associations for birth weight and correlations with adult disease. Horikoshi M, … Saw SM, … McCarthy MI, Freathy RM. Nature. 2016 Oct 13;538(7624):248-252. doi: 10.1038/nature19806. Epub 2016 Sep 28

Meta-analysis of gene-environment-wide association scans accounting for education level identifies additional loci for refractive error. Fan Q, Verhoeven VJ, Wojciechowski R, Barathi VA, Hysi PG, Guggenheim JA, Höhn R, Vitart V, Khawaja AP, Yamashiro K,……., Saw SM. Nat Commun. 2016 Mar 29;7

Childhood gene-environment interactions and age-dependent effects of genetic variants associated with refractive error and myopia: The CREAM Consortium. Fan Q, Guo X,….,Saw SM, Williams C, Guggenheim JA. Sci Rep. 2016;6

Genome-wide meta-analyses of multiancestry cohorts identify multiple new susceptibility loci for refractive error and myopia. Verhoeven VJ, Hysi PG,… , Saw SM, Bailey-Wilson JE, Stambolian D, Klaver CC, Hammond CJ. Nat Genet. 2013;45:314-8

Genome-wide association study of retinopathy in individuals without diabetes. Jensen RA, Sim X, Li X, Cotch MF, Ikram MK, Holliday EG, Eiriksdottir G, Harris TB, Jonasson F, Klein BE, Launer LJ, Smith AV, Boerwinkle E, Cheung N, Hewitt AW, Liew G, Mitchell P, Wang JJ, Attia J, Scott R, Glazer NL, Lumley T, McKnight B, Psaty BM, Taylor K, Hofman A, de Jong PT, Rivadeneira F, Uitterlinden AG, Tay WT, Teo YY, Seielstad M, Liu J, Cheng CY, Saw SM, Aung T, Ganesh SK, O’Donnell CJ, Nalls MA, Wiggins KL, Kuo JZ; Blue Mountains Eye Study GWAS Team; CKDGen Consortium, van Duijn CM, Gudnason V, Klein R, Siscovick DS, Rotter JI, Tai ES, Vingerling J, Wong TY. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e54232

Differential associations of myopia with major age-related eye diseases: The Singapore Indian Eye Study. Pan CW, Cheung CY, Aung T, Cheung CM, Zheng YF, Wu RY, Mitchell P, Lavanya R, Baskaran M, Wang JJ, Wong TY. Ophthalmol. 2013 Feb 28;120:284-91

New loci associated with birth weight identify genetic links between intrauterine growth and adult height and metabolism. Horikoshi M, Yaghootkar H*, Mook-Kanamori DO*, Sovio U, Taal HR, Hennig BJ, Bradfield JP, Mohlke KL, Boomsma DI, Saw SM, Lakka TA, Körner A, Loos RJ, Ong KK, Vollenweider P, van Duijn CM, Koppelman GH, Hattersley AT, Holloway JW, Hocher B, Heinrich J, Power C, Melbye M, Guxens M, Pennell CE, Bønnelykke K, Bisgaard H, Eriksson JG, Widén E, Hakonarson H, Uitterlinden AG, Pouta A, Lawlor DA, Smith GD, Frayling TM, McCarthy MI*, Grant SF*, Jaddoe VW*, Jarvelin MR*, Timpson NJ*, Prokopenko I*, Freathy RM*; Early Growth Genetics (EGG) Consortium. Nat Genet. 2013 Jan;45(1):76-82

Myopia-related fundus changes in Singapore adults with high myopia.Chang L, Pan CW, Ohno-Matsui K, Lin X, Cheung GC, Gazzard G, Koh V, Hamzah H, Tai ES, Lim SC, Mitchell P, Young TL, Aung T, Wong TY, Saw SM. Am J Ophthalmol. 2013;155:991-9.e1

Myopia. Morgan IG, Ohno-Matsui K, Saw SM. Lancet. 2012; 379(9827):1739-48

Blood Pressure and Retinal Microvascular Characteristics During Pregnancy: Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) Study. Li LJ, Cheung CY, Ikram MK, Gluckman P, Meaney MJ, Chong YS, Kwek K, Wong TY, Saw SM. Hypertension. 2012 Jul;60(1):223-30

Effect of maternal body mass index on the retinal microvasculature in pregnancy. Li LJ, Ikram MK, Cheung CY, Lee YS, Lee LJ, Gluckman P, Godfrey KM, Chong YS, Kwek K, Wong TY, Saw SM. Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Sep;120(3):627-35

A cohort study of incident myopia in Singapore children. Saw SM, Shankar A, Tan SB, Taylor H, Tan DTH, Stone RA, Wong TY. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2006 May;47(5):1839-44

An outbreak of contact lens-associated Fusarium keratitis in Singapore. Khor WB, Tin A, Saw SM, Wong TY, Tambyah PA, Tan AL, Beuerman R, Lim L, Chan WK, Heng WJ, Lim J, Loh RSK, Lee SB, Tan DTH. JAMA 2006;295:2867-73

Association between breastfeeding and likelihood of myopia in children. Chong YS, Liang Y, Gazzard G, Stone RA, Saw SM. JAMA 2005; 293: 3001-2

Incidence and progression of myopia in Singaporean school children. Saw SM, Tong, L, Chua, WH, Chia KS, Koh D, Tan DT, Katz J Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2005;46:51-57

IQ and the association with myopia in children. Saw SM, Tan SB, Fung D, Chia KS, Koh D, Tan DTH, Stone RA. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2004;45:2943-8

Under-corrected refractive error in Singapore Chinese adults: The Tanjong Pagar Survey. Saw SM, Foster PJ, Gazzard G, Friedman D, Hee J, Seah S. Ophthalmol 2004; 111: 2168-2174

Nearwork in early onset myopia. Saw SM, Chua WH, Hong CY, Wu HM, Chan WY, Chia KS, Stone RA, Tan D. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2002;43:332-9

Nearwork and myopia in young children. Saw SM, Hong CY, Chia KS, Stone RA, Tan D. Lancet 2001;357:390