• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Myopia is an Increasingly Serious Problem Among Chinese Children

Shortsightedness or myopia, a condition where distant objects appear blurry while close objects appear normal, is an eye problem that is becoming increasingly serious among Chinese children. It is estimated that in China the myopia rate is 31 percent. However, among children and teenagers it can be as high as 90 percent. Because when it is uncorrected it can have health-damaging consequences, it must be dealt with more effectively by both parents and health authorities in the country.

Myopia is a global issue. According to researchers, rates of myopia have doubled, or even tripled, in most East Asian countries over the last 40 years. Although Singapore is considered to have the highest rate in the world, with approximately 80 percent of the population being affected by it, the prevalence of myopia in India in the general population is only 6.9 percent.

Rates of myopia have been rising in Western nations like Germany and the U.S. In this last country, as well as in some European countries, the rate has almost doubled in the last 50 years. According to some estimates, one third of the world’s population -2.5 billion people- could be affected by short-sightedness by 2020. Some experts say we are close to having a myopia epidemic.

A combination of both genetic and environmental factors seems to be responsible for myopia. Risk factors for this problem are doing work that focuses on close objects, spending a lot of time indoors and a family history for this condition. Although for many years genetic factors were considered responsible for this condition, it was proven that other environmental factors were also important.

One of the factors considered important was the amount of time spent studying and doing close-reading home work. It was shown that children who spent more hours reading and doing home-work inside their homes or at school had a higher probability of developing myopia. This theory, however, didn’t hold up. Close work, although it had an effect, was not, apparently, the factor most responsible for this condition.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England have found that a lack of outdoor play has been linked to myopia. There seems to be a protective effect of sunlight during children’s critical years of development, while their eyeballs are still growing. The reasons for this effect, however, are not yet known.

Ian Morgan, a myopia researcher at Australian National University, said that if children get outside enough it doesn’t matter how much study they do, since they don’t become myopic as frequently as children who spend much of their time inside their homes. Based on his studies, Morgan estimates that children need to spend around three hours per day under good light levels to be protected against myopia.

The problem with this approach, however, is that in many places and in different seasons children cannot get enough outside light. There are some experiments now carried out to allow more children to play and study in better artificial lighting conditions. No clear-cut results, however, have been achieved yet.

Some researchers suggest that children should spend more time playing outside which has the additional benefits of improving mood, increasing their level of physical activity and decreasing the likelihood of obesity, another significant problem among children. More research should be carried out as to why in India myopia is less frequent than in other Asian countries.

Although eye exercises are frequently done in China, there is no clear-cut evidence that they have been effective in lowering the rate of myopia among children. To be able to detect early any problem, all children should have a comprehensive eye examination by age three. Parents should be aware of any change in their children’s sight and take them for an eye examination since they are born. At the same time, children’s eyesight would probably benefit from less homework, less use of electronic gadgets and more activities carried out outdoors, an approach difficult to implement in today’s competitive societies. As with any other health problem, regarding children’s eyesight, prevention is more effective and less costly than a cure.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Rare Wildflower vs. Mining Company
Dianne Woodward
Race Against Time (and For Palestinians)
Norman Ball
Wall Street Sees the Light of Domestic Reindustrialization
Ramzy Baroud
The Last Lifeline: The Real Reason Behind Abbas’ Call for Elections
Binoy Kampmark
African Swine Fever Does Its Worst
Nicky Reid
Screwing Over the Kurds: An All-American Pastime
Louis Proyect
“Our Boys”: a Brutally Honest Film About the Consequences of the Occupation
Coco Das
#OUTNOW
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump vs. William Shakespeare
Ron Jacobs
Calling the Kettle White: Ishmael Reed Unbound
Stephen Cooper
Scientist vs. Cooper: The Interview, Round 3 
Susan Block
How “Hustlers” Hustles Us
Charles R. Larson
Review: Elif Shafak’s “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
David Yearsley
Sunset Songs
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail