Half of Chinese population suffer from myopia

Cai Wenjun
China has little awareness of proper myopia prevention and control, and many people have misconceptions about surgery.
Cai Wenjun

Myopia is more common in Asia than in Western countries, with China leading the pack with about half of the population suffering from myopia.

The incidence of severe myopia and extremely severe myopia covers 20 percent and 10 percent of the myopia population, respectively, which is substantially higher than in Western countries, according to specialists who spoke at a scientific education symposium over the weekend.

According to doctors, awareness of good myopia prevention and control is still low in China, and many people have misconceptions about myopia surgery, which is currently the sole solution for myopia.

Myopia surgery is performed at a rate of 0.7 per 1,000 people in China, 2.6 in the United States, 1.3 in Europe, and 3.8 in South Korea.

Half of Chinese population suffer from myopia
Ti Gong

Dr Li Wensheng at Shanghai Ai'er Eye Hospital checks a patient with severe myopia.

"Some people with severe and extremely severe myopia are afraid of having surgery and thus miss out on the best treatment option," said Dr Li Wensheng, vice president of Shanghai Ai'er Eye Hospital.

"It is not an incurable disease, but many people live with poor eyesight, which can be improved with surgery for a better quality of life.The key is to go to a professional hospital for a check-up and get an individualized surgery plan in line with each patient's condition," said Li, who is also an author on eye care.

"Doctors should play a significant role in scientific promotion. Our hospital encourages medical staff to participate in scientific education and has nurtured a group of doctors with influential works to promote eye health and the prevention and control of eye diseases," he said.

The city's health authorities praised such initiatives and encouraged medical practitioners to utilize creative methods and boost health education.

Shanghai is the first city to include health promotion in its professional assessment and senior academic promotion systems to encourage more doctors to participate.

Health education and disease prevention are important, according to Shanghai Health Commission Vice Director Zhang Hao during a prior health promotion event.

"According to international practice, every one yuan spent on education and disease prevention can save six yuan in treatment," he said.

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