China's Vision Care Industry Lacks Quality and Professionalism

January 3, 2007 Updated: January 3, 2007

HONG KONG–The estimated number of nearsighted people in China is 300 million, with middle-school and elementary students accounting for one third of this group. Due to high cost of eye examination and glasses, students are unable to seek quality services and products from optometrists, thus increasing their risk of vision damage. The Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily News recently reported that the vision care industry has been one of the top ten profit making businesses in China for the past two years. A well-known statement among optometrists is “If frames worth twenty yuan are sold to you for 200 yuan, that is out of companionship. If it is sold to you for 300 yuan, that is out of friendship. If it is sold you for 400 yuan, that is the market price.”

In contrast to the sudden increase in profit of the vision care industry, the quality of patient services and corrective products have not improved. Damage caused to the eyesight of customers as the result of improper eye examinations by unqualified optometrists and the poor-quality products are cause for public concern.

Some have been blaming the problem on the lack of a quality control system and in China, and point out that there are no effective regulations on the management and supervision of the vision care industry to protect consumers from inferior products and services. The only requirement to be in the business is the purchase of a commercial license, and most vision care centers in China do not employ qualified optometrists.

Edited by The Epoch Times