An Auckland teenager has proved a fresh pair of eyes should never be underestimated when it comes to science.

And eyes are the forte of 17-year-old Hannah Ng, a Year 13 student at St Cuthbert's College who yesterday was awarded the Prime Minister's Future Scientist Prize.

Even before reaching university, Hannah has given researchers a novel theory that may have shed new light on global eye problems - and could change the way glasses are designed.

Often at the expense of her free time, Hannah spent four years researching childhood myopia, or short-sightedness, which is a focusing error of the eye that causes blurry vision.

Hannah grew interested in myopia - affecting up to 40 per cent of Europeans and 90 per cent of some Asian populations - when many of her peers started to wear glasses after eye checks at school.

Having won a scholarship with the Liggins Institute scientist mentorship programme, Hannah began working with principal investigator John Phillips, at the University of Auckland's Myopia Laboratory.

Drawing on other research, she used chicken models and made tiny sets of goggle-like multifocal lenses and placed them over their eyes to investigate different effects on their vision.