Regional network set up to help control myopia

Shanghai will set up a regional network for children's myopia prevention and control, with a trial to be carried out in Minhang District.

Shanghai will set up a regional network for children’s myopia prevention and control, with a trial to be carried out in Minhang District.

The network, under the guidance of the Shanghai Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital and consisting of schools, community doctors, private hospitals and volunteers, will offer guidance, intervention, regular treatment and education to students and parents in order to control the development of children’s myopia, experts told a forum over the weekend.

Myopia has become a big challenge in China, where 45.7 percent of primary school students, 74.4 percent of middle school students and 83.3 percent of high school students suffer from the condition, according to a recent nationwide survey launched in 2014.

According to the Shanghai Health Commission, the city's numbers are not far off the national average — around 47 percent of primary school students, close to 77 percent of middle school students and almost 90 percent of high school students have some degree of myopia.

“The trial will offer screenings, prevention and control, education and other support to help students control myopia — screenings in Minhang will cover some 200,000 students in some 400 facilities and set up an eye health database for each student for long-term management and intervention,” said Dr Zhou Xingtao, vice president of Shanghai Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital. “Our focus has turned from myopia treatment to myopia prevention and control.”

He said effective treatment can greatly delay the deterioration of myopia, especially the incidence of severe myopia.

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