2019-10-10 10:08:42

A recent report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) singles out China for the country’s high rates of vision impairment, financial news outlet Caixin reported Wednesday.

Eye conditions such as pterygium, dry eye syndrome, and nearsightedness affect a greater proportion of China’s population compared with other countries, according to the WHO’s first world report on vision, published Tuesday. Pterygium prevalence rates are at 33% in rural China — 22.8% higher than global figures — while myopia affects 67% of urban Chinese adolescents, higher than overall myopia rates in the Asia-Pacific and East Asia regions, which stand at 53.4% and 51.6% respectively.

The report noted a reluctance among Chinese children to use free or low-cost prescription glasses due to their parents’ doubts about quality. The study also cited urban-rural lifestyle differences as a significant factor for higher childhood myopia rates in China’s cities; those living in rural areas, meanwhile, were found to be at a higher risk of distance vision impairment and blindness.

In April, China’s top health authority reported that 81% of the country’s high school students were affected by nearsightedness. In a bid to reduce childhood myopia rates, eight government departments jointly released a guideline in August of last year aiming to keep myopia rates among 6-year-olds and high schoolers at around 3% and 70% respectively through 2030. (Image: IC)