CHINA China records major achievement in reducing blindness


China records major achievement in reducing blindness

China Daily

16:47, June 05, 2020

An eye doctor teaches elementary school students about the structure of the eye in Hefei, Anhui province, on June 3, 2020. The doctor's visit took place ahead of the 25th National Eye Health Day, which will fall on Saturday. (Photo: China Daily)

China has made great progress in fighting diseases that cause blindness over the past decades, with the number of visually impaired people falling greatly, according to a report released by National Health Commission on Friday, ahead of the National Eye Health Day, which falls on Saturday this year.

Surgeries for patients with cataract, a major cause for blindness, have been extensively promoted over the past 20 years, with nearly 3,000 such surgeries expected to be performed for every 1 million people in China this year, compared with just 318 cataract surgeries for every 1 million people in 1999, the whiter paper said.

Trachoma, a hygiene-related eye disease that used to infect up to 90 percent of the total population in rural areas in China seven decades ago, has become rare in China, and blindness-causing trachoma was eliminated in China in 2014, the report said.

Meanwhile, the number of medical physicians specializing in eye diseases in China reached nearly 45,000 by the end of 2018, compared with less than 20,000 in 2003, the report said.

It is estimated that the number of visually impaired people aged more than 50 in China has fallen by more than 700,000 compared with 1999, and the number of patients with serious eyesight damage has decreased by more than 500,000, the report said.

With population ageing and changing life styles, the leading causes for blindness in China, which used to be infectious diseases such as trachoma, have changed to eye diseases caused by chronic diseases and ageing including diabetes and cataract, which calls for updated prevention and control measures across China, the report said.

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