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May 29, 2017

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Video games make HK kids short-sighted: doctors

HONG KONG--Myopia among Hong Kong primary school children is worsening rapidly because they spend four hours a day playing video games or using computers, doctors said Wednesday.

Cases of short-sightedness among primary school children are rising at the rate of up to 10 percent a year, the city's Association of Private Practice Optometrists said.

A survey by the association involving interviews with 800 primary school children found that the youngsters spent an average of four hours a day in front of video or computer screens.

Association president Kenneth Lam said children could develop serious eye problems in later life if parents did not take action to stop them spending so much time on computers and video games.

Earlier this year, another survey by Hong Kong's Chinese University found myopia had trebled in the past decade among pre-school children in the wealthy city of 7 million.

More than 6 percent of kindergarten pupils were found to suffer myopia compared to 2.3 percent 10 years earlier. Researchers blamed too much time spent in front of TVs and computers.

Hong Kong already has one of the world's highest rates of myopia with an earlier study finding 17 percent of primary school starters and 53 percent of primary school leavers are short-sighted.

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