Myopia has become a serious health problem for elementary-school students, with more than 35 percent of second-grade children at elementary schools in Taipei suffering from the vision problem, the Taipei City Government said on Monday.
The city government suggested that children should avoid spending long periods of time reading at a short distance and reduce their use of computers, communications and consumer electronic devices, while taking part in more outdoor activities. If they have to use products such as smartphones and tablets, they should take a 10-minute break every 30 minutes.
The city government said that Taipei Veterans General Hospital carried out an examination of visual acuity among second-grade students in the city as part of a myopia prevention program, which revealed that the prevalence of myopia among second-grade students reached 35.63 percent, with their parents often unaware that their children had a vision problem.
The number of second-grade students suffering from 300 degrees or above of myopia was 405, or 3.18 percent of the total number of children examined.
Hospital officials said that children are also becoming myopic at a younger age and that myopia is now the most prevalent medical condition in the nation.
However, most people do not believe the condition to be very serious, as nearsightedness can be corrected with spectacles, contact lenses or refractive laser surgery. They generally lack knowledge about the eye disorder, officials said.
Children who develop myopia at a young age can develop more than 600 degrees of myopia by the time they are in high school or reach adulthood.
People with high degrees of myopia can also suffer from cataracts, glaucoma and retinopathy, which can lead to blindness, officials said.
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