Nearly 90 percent of high school students suffer from myopia
Over half of local primary and middle school students suffer myopia, or nearsightedness, making the condition an important public health problem for children and teenagers, the local health authority said ahead of National Eye Care Day which falls on Wednesday.
As high as 47.2 percent of local primary school students suffer from myopia, and the number of those affected grows as children get older — 75.8 percent of middle school students and 89.3 percent of high school students are affected, Shanghai's Health and Family Planning Commission announced.
The lack of outdoor activity, strong academic pressure and long-time use of electronic devices are major causes of myopia in children. Doctors argue that over two-hours of outdoor activity every day can drop the risk.
The local government has launched measures to control myopia by renovating lighting in classrooms and prolonging the time of outdoor activity in schools. A database for local children’s eye health will be established this year to offer regular eye health services, the commission said.
Doctors said they found not only an increase in the incidence of myopia, but also that more children are developing the condition at a younger age.
“Parents must pay attention to myopia, which is more likely to develop into serious myopia in the future if children acquire the condition before ten years old,” said Dr Lian Jingcai, president of Shanghai Xinshijie Eye Hospital.
“There were very few children with myopia in the first grade in previous years, however 10 percent of children in the first grade of primary school now wear glasses. It is not rare for those aged three or four to come to hospital because of myopia.”
“To convenience students, we have started to offer a myopia clinic in the evenings,” he said.
Doctors said many parents have misunderstandings around myopia and wrongly believe surgery can solve the problem.
“Not all people can receive myopia surgery, which is only suitable for adults,” said Dr Cai Jinfeng, vice president of Shanghai Aier Eye Hospital. “Children and teenagers are still undergoing development — prevention and myopia control is the best measure.”
Patients should visit hospital for detailed check-ups, he said.