The Coronavirus has deeply impacted one and all not only that it has brought with it several changes in everyday life and with it vicious cycles that no one could envision. One of them school’s being shut for a prolonged period of time. To overcome the shutdown of schools; several institutes have introduced online schooling.
However, this is having an impact on children’s Eye Health both long term and short term. What that means for parents is that it’s time to get serious about protecting your child’s vision. With the increase in the use of electronic gadgets or as some call it screen time, many children experience a pervasive threat of digital eye strain.
After a couple hours of continuous use of laptops or mobiles one experiences tired, dry eyes, blurry vision sometimes headaches and neck ache. Digital eye strain also known as computer vision syndrome can affect everyone who uses not just computers but also TVs, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, etc.
The problem with virtual classrooms are that students spend more time using computers during school from home than when they attend a brick-and-mortar school, so they’re more likely to experience digital eye strain.
Increased screen time increases the risk of Myopia and Myopia progression can cause stress, anxiety, loss of social skills and other behavioural issues.
The duration of online classes must be age-appropriate. For a younger child say 4 – 6 years, the duration of the class should be one hour with one break. Older kids can have classes for 4 – 6 hours with 5 to 6 breaks. Children must be allowed to take a break every 45 minutes. Some forms of physical training such as yoga or dance should be incorporated into the child’s schedule.
HOW PARENTS AND TEACHERS CAN HELP:
Children who use spectacles should wear them regularly. They should not be allowed to sit directly in front of an AC / Fan. This will cause their eyes to dry eyes. Lubricating Eye drops can be used in case of prolonged screen usage. Make sure children follow the 20 – 20 – 20 rule and blink their eyes frequently. Every 20 minutes take a break for 20 secs and look at something 20 feet away.
Encourage physical activities and movement in between classes. Preferably ask them to connect to bigger screens like a TV, Laptop, or Desktop.
BY: Dr.Rohini –MBBS, MS. Senior cataract, Lasik & ICL Surgeon, Maxivision Group of Eye hospitals, Hyderabad