Date
18 January 2017
As children spend hours glued to their computer or mobile gadget screens, it is taking a toll on their eyes, experts warn. Photo: HK government
As children spend hours glued to their computer or mobile gadget screens, it is taking a toll on their eyes, experts warn. Photo: HK government

Myopia problems worsen as kids spend more time on mobile gadgets

Vision care institutions in Hong Kong have called on the government to come up with a policy to deal with the worsening problem of near-sightedness in local youngsters.

The School of Optometry of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Association of Private Practice Optometrists, Hong Kong Society of Professional Optometrists, Eye Foundation and Hong Kong Contact Lens Research Association said in a joint press conference that a committee should be established for setting such a policy, Metro Daily reported.

Meanwhile, parents have been advised to take their children for regular vision checkup.

Myopia problem has become severe as many youngsters spend less time outdoors as they become addicted to smartphones, tablets and computers.

Statistics show that 61.5 percent of 12-year-old children in Hong Kong is near-sighted, compared to 42.7 percent in Australia and 8.3 percent in Europe. The Hong Kong figure is one of the highest in the world.

Specialists are warning of a surge in the number of children with serious myopia over the next decade.

According to an estimate, in a decade from now, there will be 14,000 people more every year with myopia of -6 diopters or worse, with more than half of them being near-sighted since childhood.

It also suggests that the risk of suffering from eye problems will increase as they get older, confronting issues such as retinal detachment.

A study by the institutions also found that parents who are near-sighted are 78 percent more likely to see a similar thing in their children compared to those who are not.

Forrest Ng Yiu-fai, treasurer of the Hong Kong Society of Professional Optometrists, has urged youngsters to spend more hours outdoors every day, as the study shows that such lifestyle can help lower the risk of myopia.

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