Key Issues

Shanghai Hospital is All About Protecting Children’s Eyes from Myopia

May 28, 2024

By John Sailer, Editor-in-Chief, Review of Myopia Management

As seen through the eyes of the children treated at the Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Center Hospital, the fictional character Big Eye came from the 28th Century to the present day to save them from myopia. He should know because he’s from the future when they’ve learned about the dangers that can result from high myopia. 

Big Eye encourages children to take the steps necessary to slow the onset and progression of myopia. The Big Eye character was created by Dr. Xiangui (Hedy) He, director of the Clinical Research Center of the Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Center.

Chinese President Xi Jinping Warns of Myopia
More recently, during the 21st Century, 2018 to be exact, President Xi Jinping, President of The Peoples Republic of China, also warned of the dangers of myopia. He declared how the high prevalence of myopia in schoolchildren affects their health and well-being, making myopia a countrywide cause. At the same time, China’s central government’s State Council released a comprehensive plan for the prevention and control of myopia in children and adolescents.

‘Sunning for Sight’ brings children outdoors, where time spent has been proven to delay the onset of myopia.

Dr. Xiangui (Hedy) He examines a patient.

Treatments, Lifestyle Changes, and Clinical Trials
By that point, the Shanghai Eye Hospital had already been on the front lines of implementing whatever it takes to slow the progression of myopia for at least a decade. This specialty hospital does it all from offering available treatments, encouraging the necessary preventative lifestyle changes, and participating in and leading clinical trials to determine their efficacy.

Interactive map shows the geographic prevalence of myopia.

Dr. He developed a watch that monitors time spent outdoors.

Among the available treatments are orthokeratology, low-dose atropine, and spectacle lenses. Lifestyle changes include more outdoor time and adjustments to classroom lighting and desk positioning. Clinical trials are ongoing, frequent, and numerous. 

Clinical Trials with Cohorts in the Millions
The largest clinical trial is the SCALE Study vision screening program for children in Shanghai, involving three million participants and being conducted by Dr. Xiangui (Hedy) He, director of the Clinical Research Center of the Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Center/Shanghai Eye Hospital and director of the Shanghai Children Myopia Center. Her other studies include the STORM Study outdoor intervention trial and the SCALE-HM Study children’s high myopia management program.  

Classroom lighting that simulates the outdoors and adjustable desks and seating are among the unique ways the Shanghai Eye Hospital addresses myopia.

Dr. He also developed a wristwatch to monitor outdoor time and technology to measure reading distance. The Big Eye mascot is her brainchild. Her work at the Shanghai Eye Hospital has made her a leader in the field of myopia management, not just in Shanghai and China but worldwide. That has also made her hospital a global leader in research as well. 

The Shanghai Eye Hospital offers a variety of merchandise featuring Big Eye, the fictional character who came from the future to warn children in the present of the potential dangers of high myopia. (click to enlarge)

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