70 % of 17-year old school children in Hong Kong are short-sighted
or myopic. If the population of China develops myopia to the same
degree, some 700 million people in China will become myopic in the
next 20-40 years. Myopic degeneration is the second highest cause of
low vision in Hong Kong. A treatment for myopia would improve the
quality of life for more than half a billion Chinese, and have
considerable positive economic implications for the country. The
annual cost of myopia in the US is in the region of US$4.8 billion.
China will soon have 18 times more myopes than the US.
huge increase in the prevalence of myopia in the younger compared
with the older generation in Hong Kong demonstrates an environmental influence.
carried out on identical twins have shown that there is a genetic
involvement in myopia. However, recent work carried out at The Hong
Kong Polytechnic University has shown that Chinese can have normal
eyesight and that myopia develops following exposure to intensive