Government acts to curb nearsightedness in children


Myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness, has become severe among Chinese children and teenagers in recent years, with more people being affected at a younger age. Last year, about 53.6 percent of children and teenagers had myopia.

The prevalence of severe eyesight problems is alarming, with 21.9 percent of high school students wearing glasses stronger than six diopters.

Excessive homework, insufficient outdoor exercise, and abuse or improper use of electronic devices are thought to be the major causes of myopia among Chinese children and teenagers.

The country has intensified efforts to prevent and combat nearsightedness among teenagers. It plans to reduce the overall myopia rate among teenagers by more than 0.5 percentage points per year from 2019 to 2030, according to a recently released health guideline.

The guideline requires schools to guarantee that students exercise for at least an hour a day at school, perform eye exercises regularly and read and write for no more than 40 minutes without a break both in the classroom and at home.

The Ministry of Education calls on parents to reduce the time their children spend using electronic devices to within one hour per day.