Myopia affects Chinese people: doctors

Myopia has become a serious health burden for Chinese people, with 50 percent of the population afflicted. That number will grow to 66.8 percent by 2050.

Myopia has become a serious health burden for Chinese people, with 50 percent of the population afflicted.

But the public still have poor awareness around the issue, and there is a serious shortage of optometrists and opticians able to deal with the situation.

Both the health industry and the public should pay more attention to myopia prevention and control, medical experts told a seminar on new optical technology in Shanghai.

New technologies like stem cell and gene therapy were discussed at the meeting.

“Optical technology and equipment is developing very quickly and many patients with myopia or cataracts can be cured through surgery,” said Dr Lian Jiangcai from Shanghai Xinshijie Eye Hospital. “But myopia prevention should be highlighted, as well as the severe lack of medical professionals for myopia treatment.”

The incidence of myopia among Chinese primary school students sits at 35 percent, climbing to 50 percent among middle students and 70 percent among university students.

By 2050, about 66.8 percent of the overall population in China will suffer myopia, 13 percent of whom will suffer serious myopia, experts said.

China needs 300,000 optometrists, however there are only 30,000 such professionals currently.

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