Guidelines, Challenges, and the Importance of Student Well-being

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China has implemented guidelines to combat myopia in children and adolescents. These guidelines mandate the installation of visual acuity charts in educational institutions to facilitate self-monitoring and early detection. Additionally, schools are required to incorporate eye exercises and regular breaks into their schedules, ensuring students have ample time for outdoor activities and distance viewing to alleviate visual strain.

The prevalence of myopia among Chinese children and adolescents has reached alarming levels, with 52.7% affected last year. The onset of high myopia has also shifted to a younger age range, now occurring between six and ten years old. Factors contributing to this epidemic include inadequate vision checkups, limited knowledge of eye care, and insufficient outdoor time.

Outdoor activities play a crucial role in maintaining eye health, as exposure to natural light stimulates the release of dopamine in the retina, which inhibits eyeball elongation and reduces the risk of myopia. However, some schools prioritize academic performance over students' well-being, encroaching on break time and restricting access to playgrounds.

Recognizing the importance of break time for students' physical and mental health, China has emphasized the need to safeguard their right to free play during breaks. Education Minister Huai Jinpeng has advocated for daily exercise and ample break time to promote healthy habits and address issues like poor eyesight and obesity.

Experts have proposed adjusting school schedules to accommodate both academic and physical needs. For younger students, class and break times could be reduced to half an hour each, while older students could have 40-minute classes and 20-minute breaks. Additionally, collaboration between departments is essential to explore the mechanisms of myopia and enforce policies aimed at reducing students' workloads and promoting healthy eye care practices.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09