SPECIALISTS are warning of a surge in the number of children with serious myopia or short-sightedness over the next decade, as youngsters spend less time outdoors and more hours with their eyes glued to smartphones, tablets and computers.
Government statistics showed that in 2013, about one-quarter, or 14,000, of some 52,000 seven-year-old local students had the eye defect with about 50 to100 dioptres.
With a minimum annual increase of 50 dioptres, these children will hit at least 600 dioptres – the benchmark for serious myopia – when they reach age 18.
Forrest Ng Yiu-fai (吳耀輝) of the Hong Kong Society of Professional Optometrists (香港眼科視光師學會) said serious myopia could increase one’s chances of getting cataracts, glaucoma, maculopathy and retinal detachment.
The 2013 study was jointly conducted by the School of Optometry of Hong Kong Polytechnic University (理工大學 眼科視光學院), Hong Kong Association of Private Practice Optometrists (香港執業眼科視光師協會), Hong Kong Society of Professional Optometrists, Eye Foundation (眼科慈善基金) and Hong Kong Contact Lens Research Association (香港隱形眼鏡學會).
It found that heavy usage of near-point vision was believed to be the reason for a high myopia rate among schoolchildren.
Having too many lessons with little outdoor activity also leads to the problem, Ng said,
He advised young students to engage in more outdoor activities and avoid using computers or playing video games for a long time.
Other methods of prevention or alleviation include good visual hygiene, such as reading under proper lighting, taking a five-minute break for every 20 minutes of work, and looking at distant objects during breaks to relax eye muscles.
(The Standard, Jane Cheung, 30 September 2015)
What’s causing this eye condition?
Defects of vision and their correction