What About Eye Exercises?


A common misconception among parents, teachers, and school administrators is that eye exercises (yan bao jian cao) protect vision and slow the progression of myopia.


Many adults in China believe that eye exercises are more effective than eyeglasses for treating vision problems among children. This myth may deter families from seeking vision care for their children.

To set the record straight on this issue, we tracked the progression of myopia in children over a 9-month period in 252 participating schools; 149 of which had students perform eye exercises regularly, 102 of which did not. On average, these nearsighted children started off with a visual acuity of 0.3 (a child with 0.3 vision cannot see the blackboard clearly!).


So did eye exercises help? Our results show after 9 months, myopia had progressed equally in children that did eye exercises and in those who did not. Eye exercises had no measurable effect on the progression of myopia in both groups -- the average progression was exactly the same!

The bottom line: eye exercises have no effect on the onset or progression of myopia.


       > Next: Role of Subsidies in the Provision of Care

       > Back to Seeing Is Learning landing page