A lack of basic school facilities has resulted in an increasing number of school children suffering from eye and spinal problems, according to local health officials.
In Hanoi alone, up to 32.4 percent of students were found with eye problems
The ratio of primary school students suffering nearsightedness has surged ten times over the past four decades, Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper reported.
About 2.8 million Vietnamese students are suffering from eye disorders, including near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism, according to the Central Eye Hospital in Hanoi.
A survey by the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital revealed that there 38.8 percent of students have eye problems in the city’s 260 schools.
In Hanoi alone, up to 32.4 percent of students were found to have eye disorders according to a recent survey of the city’s Central Eye Hospital on 12 schools, four of which are for primary students.
Some 30.19 percent of young students with eye problems are nearsighted.
The root of the problem lies in the fact that most schools do not have desks designed to suit the physical features of students.
First graders have to use the same desks as fourth and fifth grade students. Some 41.7 percent of the classrooms are not well-lit.
All classrooms are equipped with anti-dazzle blackboards but some already have had their protective layers peeled off; which poses threats to those sitting at the corners or the back rows of the rooms.
Nguyen Duc Minh of the Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences said most students do not undergo routine eye checks.
More than 85 percent of asked teachers said they didn’t teach their students how to protect their eyes.
Some 60 to 80 percent of students in Hanoi, HCMC and central Danang with eye disorders do not realize the conditions that their eyes are in.
According to the institute, only 60 percent of the students with eye problems wear glasses but many of them have the wrong prescription.
Classrooms are also overcrowded at 55 to 60 students even though they were originally designed for 35 to 40 kids.
At some facilities, the distance between the blackboard and the students at the first row is just about one meter, making the children’s eyes more vulnerable to myopia.
Ngo Quoc Khang, director of the Vinh Khang Educational Equipment Joint Stock Company, said poor posture was also a contributing factor to nearsightedness in students.
A survey of the Hospital of Trauma and Orthopedics in Ho Chi Minh City revealed that half of the 4,000 surveyed students in HCMC were found to be suffering from crooked spinal columns or are prone to the disease.
About 22.2 percent of secondary school students in Vietnam have been found with crooked spinal columns, Tran Dac Phu, deputy head of the Department of Preventative Health and Environment under the Ministry of Health, announced at a meeting last month.
A national program to prevent diseases in local educational institutions is expected to be introduced next year.