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Kids who pore over books and online games get eye problems

Update: July, 10/2012 - 09:49

HCM CITY — The lack of outdoor activity is causing eye problems like myopia and astigmatism for children, especially in large cities like Ha Noi and HCM City, a top ophthalmologist has said.

Dr Tran Anh Tuan, head of the HCM City Eye Hospital, told the media last week that kids pored over books and play online games for too long, developing refractive problems.

Data from the National Institute of Ophthalmology shows that nearly 3 million children in the country have refractive errors, and the number is rising at an alarming rate in both urban and rural areas.

In places like HCM City and Ha Noi, the rate is nearly 40 per cent.

Schools for gifted students are hotbeds with a large of number of students wearing glasses.

Tuan said in his son's class in one of the schools, the rate was more than 60 per cent.

A report by Thua Thien – Hue Province's Preventive Medicine Centre in 2010 said children who stay indoors and learn intensively are nine times more likely to become myopic than those indulging in a lot of outdoor activities.

Tuan said research in many other countries – such as a recent one by the Australian National University in Canberra – shows that environmental rather than genetic factors cause myopia.

Indulging in outdoor activities under the sun for two or three hours a day would prevent myopia, he said.

Parents should create conditions for their children to go outdoors and not force them to study too hard, he added. — VNS

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