The present yearly growth rate of people diagnosed as being shortsighted in China has exceeded 30 million with less than 2 million receiving timely treatment, according to statistics from the fifth Ophthalmic New Clinical Technology Fair on Sunday.
A sample survey of students from primary and middle schools in 2002 showed that 26.96 percent of primary pupils suffered from the eyesight problem and figures for students in junior and senior middle schools were 53.43 percent and 72 percent respectively.
A research by Peking University Health Science Center indicated that the incidence of shortsightedness among Chinese students had risen from the fourth place in the world in 1998 to the second last year, next only to Japan.
According to experts attending the fair, the present situation with the visual problem in China is as follows: the occurrence is directly proportional to age; more students in urban areas have the problem than those in rural areas; the ratio of female sufferers is higher than males; students in large metropolises are more likely to be shortsighted than those in small and medium-sized cities and towns.
That students face heavier study burdens and more pressure from exams than before can be one of the reasons. A lack of preventative measures contributes to worsening the situation.
Ophthalmic laser treatment can correct the shortsightedness, according to the experts. However, less than 1,000 hospitals in the Chinese mainland have the advanced technology and equipment required to treat the problem. This figure represents only 5 percent of all hospitals. Experts have therefore advised that related technologies and health institutions be improved.
The two-day fair, sponsored by the US Lasersing Technology Company Ltd, began on July 8 and more than 100 ophthalmic experts and doctors from all over the nation attended.
(China.org.cn by Wang Ke, July 11, 2006)