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Base Established for Children's Eyes 
    2007-05-31 14:46:30     CRIENGLISH.com
As the international Children's Day is around the corner, the health of the underaged has once again aroused much attention.

About 15 percent of children in Shanghai have been found to have eye problems . An eye disease prevention and treatment centre for the city's children has just been established. Through conducting vision check-ups, the base hopes to warn more poeple of this severe problem.

Our Shanghai correspondent Chen Simeng reports.

The Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Base will conduct a wide range of free vision check-ups and early optical treatment in various kindergartens or nurseries. It will also promote research into children's eye diseases and launch public education programs.

Gu Mianju is the general manager of the New Vision Eye Clinic under Ruijin Hospital, an organizer of the base. He says that these eye problems among kids are so pressing that they need addressing immediately.

"We found about 15 percent of kids have either developed myopia or astigmatism. And a quarter of them already have lazy eye symptoms, which need to be treated right away; for, after the kid passes the age of 9, it's irreversible."

He adds that most of the eye problems among kids are caused by the overuse of their eyes.

"For myopia or astigmatism, most happen because of the over-use of eyes. We notice now that people tend to let children start learning much earlier. The Computer is one of the most important learning aspects. And children probably will watch more TV programs, DVDs, etc. And, playing piano, looking at the notes will also cause strain on the eyes."

An ophthalmologist Yu Qing says that children should watch the computer or television screen as little as possible. In addition, balanced nutrition is a key element in making eyes grow strong - and a factor often neglected by parents.

"Now we are advocating a balanced nutritional intake among children. Parents tend to believe their children should eat more meat - which is wrong. The development of the sclera requires plenty of trace elements, including chromium, zinc and iron. These elements can help the sclera to grow strong and fight against the development of myopia."

The doctor therefore advises that children eat more vegetables and fruits.

The base plans to conduct free vision check-ups in kindergartens or nurseries throughout Shanghai within the next three years.
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