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Beijing Children's Eyesight Getting Worse

A national standard eye examination has showed that Beijing primary and high school children's vision has been getting generally worse.

The Beijing Education Committee sponsored the examinations, which showed the average test results were lower than those from the last examination in 2005, the Beijing-based China Youth Daily reported.

Only 10 percent of the tested students had good eyesight, compared with more than 30 percent in 2005.

The check covered 1,775 students from 54 classes. They were randomly selected from primary and high schools in 18 districts.

According to the test results of the junior high school group, children from the suburban Mentougou District scored an average of four, much lower than 4.8 which was set by optometrists as the minimum standard for good vision. Below four is classed as shortsightedness.

None of the students from downtown Xuanwu District tested above 4.8.

"Average students should score above 4.8 and those who score below that fail the regular standard," said Gan Beilin, head of Beijing Education Committee's Physical Exercise and Art Department.

"Not a single student in a class from Xuanwu District's high school group met that level. Beijing student's eyesight has declined distinctly, compared with the results of 2005," he said.

Gan said Beijing would adopt measures to improve children's eyesight, such as promoting the use of new blackboards, upgrading school furniture, improving lighting in classroom and rotating seating plans.

"Most importantly, students should be freed from the burden of exams and relax their eyes in the natural environment everyday," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 23, 2008)

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