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Statement: Reducing Near Work and Increasing Outdoor Time Key to Tackling Myopia

Vision Impact Institute welcomes efforts to reduce time spent on mobile phones in Shandong province schools in China.

Dallas, Texas – October 16, 2018 – Last month, the provincial legislature in Shandong adopted a new regulation calling on schools to forbid students from bringing mobile phones and tablets to class in order to battle the epidemic of myopia in the province. According to Sun Wei, deputy director of the province’s Prevention and Treatment Center for Child Visual Impairment, “More than 40 percent of primary and middle school students in Shandong have myopia.”

These numbers mirror a global myopia trend. In 2010, just over 28 percent of the world’s population was affected by myopia. This is predicted to rise to nearly 50 percent by 2050. It’s estimated that by 2050, myopia and high myopia will show a significant increase in prevalence globally affecting five billion people and one billion people respectively. And many of these will be children.

“We welcome the efforts of government leaders in Shandong province to reduce near work, by reducing time on mobile devices as well as homework load,” says Kristan Gross, Global

Executive Director of the Vision Impact Institute. “In addition, we advocate for combining these steps with an increase in time spent outdoors. Research shows that time outdoors can slow the progression of myopia (nearsightedness). We know that combining these efforts is not only an investment in children’s health, but also an investment in their future. We applaud the

Shandong province government for not only prioritizing children’s vision, but also the success of the next generation.”