About 53.6 percent of Chinese children and minors suffered from myopia last year, 0.9 percentage points higher than a year ago, and the incidence rises with age, experts told a myopia prevention and control conference with the participation of teachers and officials from over 80 schools in Shanghai on Thursday.
The incidence among Chinese children aged 6 is 14.5 percent, while it climbs to 36 percent among primary school students, 71.6 percent for middle school students and 81 percent for those in high school.
The performance of children and minor's myopia control, the overall myopia rate, and their physical health have been included into the local government's evaluation system, pushing the government, schools and society to raise awareness, officials told the conference launched at Shanghai Ai'er Eye Hospital.
"A close cooperation between schools and parents, stricter monitoring, more physical activity and a comprehensive system for myopia prevention and control should be established to create a better living and study style for minors to enhance their health," said Lu Xiaoming from Shanghai Extracurricular Education Association.
Dr Lan Weizhong from the Ai'er Eye Group said it launched a survey covering 3.1 million minors in 27 provinces of China, revealing that Chinese students spend a long time on academic work in an alarmingly close distance (shorter than 30 centimeters) at home, and the time spent on homework is long. Even on weekends, they spend over four hours at such a short distance each day. The survey also found the lighting at school has met the standard, while lighting at home is poor. All these contribute to their myopia's formation and development.
"This data means that both schools and families play an important role in the prevention and control of myopia in minors,"said Lan, whose hospitals have cooperated with governments, schools and medical facilities to carry out over 25 million myopia screenings, established a vision database, and supported government policy-making through Internet and big data technology.
The myopia rate in Shanghai is higher than the national level. About 60 percent of children and minor suffer from the problem, said officials from the Shanghai Student Activity Management Center, which has teamed up with schools to add more physical courses, reduce academic burden, and improve the environment to protect children's eye health.
Teachers from Loushan Middle School said the school deeply studied the reasons its for myopia among its students, and renovated the lighting in their classrooms, and improved the corridor and passageways to create a vision-friendly school.