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The high prevalence of myopia has made it the most common cause of blindness in Taiwan and East Asia. it has become an important public health issue in recent decades. A national survey showed that the myopia prevalence was up to 21.5% in 7 years old and 65.9% in 12 years old. Myopia is found to progress rapidly, by approximately -1 diopter (D) per year in schoolchildren after onset of myopia. Early myopia onset generally results in fast and longer duration for myopia progression and, consequently, a higher risk of becoming highly myopia later in life. High myopia (greater than -5 D) can result in cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment, choroid neovascularization, macular degeneration, and blindness.
Myopia is an irreversible disease due to axial length elongation of the eyeball. Wearing glasses or refractive laser surgery both could not cure this disease of eyeball elongation, just only correct the refractive status.
Therefore, a strategy to postpone the age of myopia onset is important and emerge necessity for decreasing the high myopia prevalence in future generations. Based on evidence medicine, this program strategies including: “Propagandizing myopia disease can lead blindness”, “outdoor activities to prevent myopia“, ”medical treatment of myopia to prevent further blindness”, and “30 minutes of near work followed by a 10 minute break”. Separately, improving the new concept of myopia prevention to teachers, children, and parents; encouraging students spending recess time outside of the classroom and increase diversified outdoor courses. We expect that this schoolchildren vision care program would delay onset of myopia in schoolchildren and decrease the severe impact of high myopia later in future.
Policy Implementation:
  1. 1. Enhance teachers, children, and parents received eye health education regarding a new concept of myopia prevention using evidence-based medicine as well as possible complications induced by myopia.
  2. 2. Promote outdoor activities and near work breaks to prevent myopia.
  3. 3. Referrals for follow-up of medical treatment to control myopia progression and so that children’s eye health may be maintained.