The Chinese Ophthalmic Medical Expert Group in Maldives say in the Maldives, some children and adolescents have not developed good habits, and they excessively use electronic devices in their daily lives and studies, leading to a high prevalence of myopia.

Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which people can see close objects clearly but objects farther away appear blurred. Myopia occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is too curved.

Two key issues highlighted by the team

In a letter to the Maldivian people, the Chinese team stationed at the Dr. N.D. Abdulla Abdul Hakeem Ophthalmology Center from China's most renowned Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University said that many myopic children have not received proper medical refraction and standard optical correction, which severely disrupts their physical and mental well-being.

The team also highlighted that the strong ultraviolet radiation as a result of tropical weather in the Maldives and a high proportion of sugar-rich foods in the daily diet contributes to a high prevalence of blinding eye diseases, such as cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, among elderly Maldivians.

The Chinese team stationed at Dr. N.D. Abdulla Abdul Hakeem Ophthalmology Center/Photo: China-Maldives Ophthalmology center

It further said that many elderly people are unaware of the importance of regular eye examinations and as a result, many patients do not receive timely medical care, leading to permanent visual impairments.

The Chinese team offers recommendations for preventing Myopia in children & adolescents

In the letter addressed to the Maldivian people, the Chinese doctors highlighted several recommendations to prevent and control Myopia among the children population.

The team said that clinical studies have shown that outdoor activities can help reduce the incidence of myopia among them and that it is recommended that children and adolescents should have at least 2 hours of outdoor activities every day.

The Chinese team also recommended developing good habits when using electronic devices and also reducing the use of such devices. They further said improving the lighting while reading helps too and that for children and adolescents, it is advisable to have two comprehensive eye examinations at a reputable ophthalmic clinic each year.

Ways to prevent and control age-related eye diseases

The Chinese doctors' team recommended adopting a healthy lifestyle which includes engaging in regular physical activities, maintaining a balanced diet, and controlling the intake of sugar and high-calorie foods.

Chinese Doctors with an Elderly Maldivian patient/Photo: China-Maldives Ophthalmology centre

They further recommended avoiding prolonged and excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation as well as regular comprehensive health check-ups.