The rate of myopia among the Chinese population is projected to reach 50 percent by 2020, with 70 million people suffering from severe myopia, according to a report released by the School of Public Health at Peking University, Youth.cn reported on May 19.
Especially of note, children aged between 6 and 10 who have myopia are more likely to suffer from severe myopia in the future. In addition, a whopping 90 percent of college students now have some form of myopia.
There are at least 10 million people in China with severe myopia, and they are predisposed to getting pathological myopia in middle age.
Pathological myopia can't be treated with glasses or surgery, and it is one of the biggest factors that leads to blindness, Xu Xun, director of the ophthalmology department at Shanghai General Hospital, pointed out.
Experts explain that the high rate of myopia among Chinese people can be attributed to two principle factors. One is high academic pressure, and the other one is excess use of electronic devices over a long period of time.
Genetics, on the other hand, are not the main reason, as only 20 percent of Chinese people had myopia in the 1960s.
"Teenagers are now faced with severe academic pressure, which means they often study without natural light. This increases their risk of becoming nearsighted," Xu said.
Although authorities have issued documents urging relevant agencies to take action against the growing problem, it is the students themselves, along with their parents, who must change their behavior to fix the problem.