Hong Kong health care and hospitals

Vision problems for one in 10 Hong Kong kindergarten pupils – and it’s getting worse

Non-profit group surveyed 2,205 schoolchildren at 13 local kindergartens

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 8:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 10:24pm

Around one in 10 kindergarten pupils in Hong Kong suffered from eye problems, a concern group found, with a greater number afflicted than the previous year.
Between April and August, the Society for the Blind tested the vision of 2,205 schoolchildren between the ages of 3 and 5 at 13 local kindergartens.

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Among them, 254, or 11.5 per cent of the children, were diagnosed with either more than 100 degrees of short-sightedness, 300 degrees of farsightedness, or 150 degrees of astigmatism.

This compared with 246, or 9.4 per cent, of kindergarten pupils found to have vision problems last year, when the non-profit group tested 2,625 children.

It has become a cause for concern
Society for the Blind

The society found that 11.5 per cent of kindergarten pupils had problems focusing their eyes. “They need further diagnosis and have to wear glasses to prevent their illness from getting worse,” the society said in a statement on Wednesday. “It has become a cause for concern.”

The group, which provides rehabilitation services for the visually impaired, urged parents to be attentive to the eye care needs of their children. If they tilt their heads to use the sides of their eyes to read, squint to see better, or position markedly near a TV or books, parents are advised to consult eye care professionals, it said.

Parents should take their children for regular eye examinations starting from the age of 3, the society added.

At present, the Family Health Service of the Department of Health offers vision screening for preschool children aged 4 or above by a registered optometrist.

The health authority advised children to maintain a reading distance of at least 30cm, keep a viewing distance from computer screens that is between 50 and 70cm, and avoid watching TV or reading in a dim environment.