About 78 percent of local students aged 12 to 18 with deep myopia were found to be suffering from varying degrees of retina deformation, a recent study by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) finds.
It’s a worrying sign, according to professor Carly Lam of PolyU’s School of Optometry.
The findings were based on a 2012 survey on 120 local students who had an average shortsightedness score of -8.41D (dioptres).
According to the Census and Statistics Department, there are an estimated 338,660 students aged 12 to 17 this year.
Based on the survey results, 65 percent of them are short-sighted and the condition of 10.3 percent of the group is considered serious, that is, with a score of -6D or above.
Using the results of the survey, the PolyU researchers estimated that there could be 22,670 students with deep myopia and 17,750 of them could have developed retina deformation.
Of that number, 142 could already have damaged eyesight.
Geoffrey Cheng Wai-chak, president of the Hong Kong Association of Private Practice Optometrists, called on the government to set up a committee for the prevention of myopia among students, including increasing funding for student health examination services, Metro Daily said.
Schools should promote the importance of eye care among students, Cheng said, adding that the extensive use of electronic devices such as tablets as “electronic pacifiers” has become an increasingly serious issue.
“We have the highest number of classes taught on earth, while the least number of physical education lessons,” Cheng said.
He said schools and parents should not give up the time for children to exercise in order for them to get good grades in exams.
Dr. Patrick Ting Wai-ki of Hong Kong Society of Professional Optometrists said both the government and parents are responsible for the growing number of cases of myopia among schoolchildren.
Ting said children below the age of six should not be given electronic devices.
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