Half the World Wears Glasses

Have your parents ever told you to stop looking at your phone so much because it'll hurt your eyes? There may be some truth to that warning since it's estimated that half the world now wears glasses. In China, the eyewear industry has more than doubled in the last few years as more and more people wear corrective lenses. So how do you go about getting glasses in China?

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There's no need to go to a doctor, you can go directly to a glasses store where they will use modern equipment to measure your eyesight and recommend which lenses you need. During a regular doctor check up, there is the standard eyesight chart with the big (and small) black E's, but it's easy to memorize the chart or cheat. People typically go get glasses only if they notice that they have trouble seeing things clearly.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the eyes are considered to be connected to the liver, so if you have problems with your liver (such as from drinking too much alcohol), your eyes will be dull. Cassia seeds (j决明子 jué míng zǐ) are prescribed in TCM to help heal the liver and eye problems. In general, goji berries (枸杞 gǒu qǐ) are thought to be good for preserving eyesight.

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Besides cautioning children against staring at screens for too long, parents also tell children not to read in the dark and especially don't read lying down or in bed. Some parents say that if you put your head on the table while writing or reading, your eyes will be stuck looking sideways. No one knows anyone who has this problem but, like many "old wives' tales", it's probably better to be safe and not test the theory.


This article is part of our new online Chinese course. An efficient way to learn Chinese language for working and living in China.