amexdiners-outlinenoun_Globe_1335341 (1)Slice 1mastercardicon_newslettericon_searchvisa
China tops the world in myopia – how to solve this problem? China tops the world in myopia – how to solve this problem?

China tops the world in myopia – how to solve this problem?

More than one third of people in China have myopia – or ‘nearsightedness’. Most alarmingly, prevalence among China’s youth is the highest in the world – almost half of primary students and up to 83.3 percent at senior high school level have myopia. Intense academic pressure, lack of outdoor activities and heavy use of electronic devices contribute to the condition.
 
 
Myopia is a type of refractive error, which means the eye cannot focus on images. Serious refractive error can cause retinal detachment, cataract, macular degeneration or glaucoma, which can eventually lead to blindness.
 
President Xi Jinping has called for more focus on protecting children's eyesight. The Government of China has recommended measures for schools including lower academic workloads, strengthened sports programs, a vision file for each student, and improved eye health education. Consideration is also being given to train more optometrists .


It is hard to learn if you cannot see the blackboard – and correcting refractive errors in low socioeconomic areas can improve educational outcomes. However, there is a lack of quality eye health services in rural areas. Some village clinics do not have eye charts, making it difficult to conduct basic eye checks. Eye diseases can also be misunderstood. For example, some people think wearing glasses will increase the risk of myopia. There is a shortage of optometrists, and the irregular quality of private optometrists makes it difficult to provide proper advice to patients.

As an international development organisation focused on the elimination of avoidable blindness, The Fred Hollows Foundation is launching school-based eye health services, screening students and referring them to further check-ups if needed, and training teachers about basic eye health. The Foundation is also training qualified optometrists and general eye health professionals in rural areas and villages.

Four out of five who are blind don’t need to be. By building a good eye health foundation we can effectively lower the number of eye health problems among children, allowing them to study well and have more opportunities in life.