Chinese University researchers on Tuesday urged parents with astigmatism to take their children for eye check-ups at an early age, warning they're three times more likely than other youngsters to develop the condition.
The researchers said their discovery as to the extent of astigmatism being inherited comes from a study involving 5,700 families between 2015 and 2022.
The condition can result in blurred vision, but if left untreated can develop into amblyopia, known as lazy eye, and children’s eyesight may be permanently impaired, the researchers said.
Dr Jason Yam from the university said one in five children in Hong Kong has astigmatism, much higher than in other cities.
“Unfortunately, many children suffering from astigmatism partly are inborn so that we cannot completely prevent a child suffering from astigmatism. But we can do various measures to prevent it from getting worse,” Yam said.
CUHK's Professor Clement Tham said parents who have astigmatism should take their children to have an early eye examination, before it’s too late.
“Because of the plasticity of the neurological system, we can usually offer very effective treatment to the young children before the age of around eight,” he said.
“After that, we’re not saying that it’s completely untreatable, but the effectiveness of treatment will be much less.”