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Shortsighted Numbers Rise by 30 Mln Annually

The present yearly growth rate in China of people diagnosed as being short sighted has exceeded 30 million with less than 2 million receiving timely treatment, according to statistics from the fifth New Technology Ophthalmic Fair on Clinic Sunday.

A sample survey of students from primary and middle schools in 2002 showed that 26.96 percent of pupils suffered from the eyesight problem and figures for students in junior secondary and high school increased respectively to 53.43 percent and 72 percent.

Research by Peking University Health Science Center indicated that the incidence of short sightedness among Chinese students had risen to second place in the world last year from the fourth in 1998. Japan is in number one spot.

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.

Some experts suggest that students facing heavier study burdens and more pressure from exams than before can be susceptible to the complaint. They also felt that a lack of preventative measures could contribute to worsening the situation.

Ophthalmic laser treatment can treat the complaint. However, less than 1,000 hospitals in China have the advanced technology and equipment required to treat the problem. This figure represents 5 percent of all hospitals. Experts have advised that related technologies and health institutions require to 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)

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