Survey finds 1-in-5 local first-graders nearsighted


TAIPEI–One in five first-graders in Taiwan are nearsighted, according to the results of a survey released on World Sight Day, which falls on the second Thursday of October.

The number of first-grade students with poor eyesight is on the rise, said the Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP), which has commissioned the nationwide survey every five years since the 1980s.

While only 3 percent were diagnosed with nearsightedness in 1986, the figure had risen to 21.5 percent in 2010, causing concern among doctors and health care workers.

Not only are more Taiwanese children suffering from the condition, it is occurring among younger children and at a higher degree, said Lin Long-kuang, an eye doctor at National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH).

Prolonged close-vision activities such as watching television and playing computer games are the main causes of the high prevalence of myopia among children, the BHP said in a press release.