Children with myopia throng hospitals ahead of new semester
With the start of the new school semester on Friday, local eye and pediatric hospitals in Shanghai have been crowded in recent days as parents take their children for vision checks after the two-month summer vacation.
Many children probably need to opt for a new pair of glasses after the heavy academic burden and over-exposure to digital screens during the holiday, doctors pointed out.
The incidence of myopia, or near-sightedness, among Chinese children and minors is 52.7 percent, affecting 35.6 percent of primary school students, 71.1 percent of middle school students and 80.5 percent of high school students.
"We found that many children's myopia has worsened after the holiday, with parents rushing to take them for eye checks and new glasses," said Dr Zou Juan of Shanghai Yida Hospital's ophthalmology department.
"It is very important to control the development of myopia. If the myopia becomes serious, it will cause many complications and irreversible damage to the vision.
"In addition to myopia, strabismus, amblyopia and conjunctivitis are also common eye problems among children. We suggest parents take their children for eye checks one or two times a year to ensure early detection, intervention and treatment (of problems)."
A mother with her daughter waited for hours at the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital of Fudan University.
"There are so many children here today. I am worried about my daughter's vision after she spent too much time on her iPad and smartphone during the holiday," she said.
Shanghai Education TV Station teamed up with top teachers and medical experts to host an online lecture over the weekend, discussing how parents can control children's use of digital tools.
Dr Zhang Jinsong from Xinhua Hospital gave a suggestion for parents to properly guide their children in making reasonable use of smartphones for eye protection and school studies in the new semester.
"Parents should become role models for children by themselves, set rules for phone use and help children adjust their timetable gradually," Zhang said.