China pledges to improve eye care services for children, the elderly

ByMartha R. Camara

Jun 6, 2022

Monday marks the 27th National Eye Care Day in China. Among the country’s efforts to provide more extensive eye care services that cover the entire life cycle of people, the eye health of children and the elderly has been a focus.

The prevalence of nearsightedness or nearsightedness among preschool children and young Chinese students was 52.7% in 2020, and the figure among elementary school students increased relatively faster, according to the National Health Commission. health (NHC).

Warning that myopia in young children is a significant problem, Bao Yongzhen, an ophthalmologist at Peking University People’s Hospital, said a series of measures including increasing hours of outdoor activity , the reduction of short-distance work and the provision of periodic visual examinations, were in progress.

The coverage rate for eye care and vision testing is expected to exceed 90 percent for children aged six and under by the end of 2025, according to a five-year vision care promotion plan formulated by the commission.

Meanwhile, the number of patients with age-related cataracts has increased as the country’s elderly population continues to grow.

Statistics show that the number of cataract operations per million people in China had exceeded 3,000 in 2020, nearly 38 times in 30 years, but the figure is still far below that of major developed countries.

The country plans to increase this figure to 3,500 by 2025 and strengthen supportive policies to improve medical services provided by county hospitals.

According to a white paper on eye health published by the NHC, China has 44,800 ophthalmologists, or about 1.6 for every 50,000 people.

Based on the increase in the number of ophthalmologists, more attention should be paid to developing the multi-level diagnosis and treatment system and increasing the training of ophthalmologists, according to Bao.