Rise in number of Chinese preschoolers and young students who are short-sighted

The prevalence of myopia or nearsightedness among Chinese preschoolers and young students was 52.7 percent in 2020, a health official said at a press conference Tuesday, state news agency Xinhua reports.

This is a rise of 2.5 percentage points from 2019 but still 0.9 percentage points lower than 2018, said Zenawdu Hasayn, an official with the disease control department of the National Health Commission (NHC), quoting a recent national survey.

The rise in myopia rate may be attributed to reduced outdoor activities due to the coronavirus disease pandemic in the mainland last year, according to the official.

China conducted a nationwide survey from September to December 2020, covering more than 2.47 million students from 8,604 schools across the country.

The prevalence of the condition among primary school students rose relatively faster, said Zenawdu Hasayn, who warned of myopia among young kids as a prominent problem.

However, progression into high myopia has slowed down. The prevalence of high myopia among junior middle school students and high school students logged a decrease of 0.5 percentage points in 2020 from that in 2018, the official said.

Shen Haiping, another NHC official, said the government attaches great importance to youngsters’ eye health. The country has included eye care and vision tests for children aged six and below in national public health services, with a coverage rate of 91.8 percent in 2020.

Students and children are also advised to reduce close-range work, increase outdoor activity hours and have their eyes examined during the upcoming summer vacation.

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