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Refractive Errors, Redness, Dryness, Itchiness And Sore Eyes Cases In Children Rise By 20% During Lockdown

– Children may get spectacles due to constant exposure to electronic gadgets- 

 Pune: Coronavirus is a matter of concern in India and the country is under lockdown. During these unprecedented times, when people are advised to stay at home, many eye problems are rising in children owing to the constant exposure to electronic gadgets (smartphones, I pad, laptop). Due to rubbing of eyes problems such as dryness, itchiness, refractive errors and sore eyes have cropped which could lead to progressive decreased vision with ocular pathologies in the near future. A timely treatment involving artificial tears, eye lubricants, proper sleep, and nutrition can do the trick.

Ramesh Singh ( name changed), a resident of Pune. His daughter Vidhi  (name changed), who is 4th standard attends online classes and would be glued to the mobile in April, due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Owing to the constant exposure to electronic gadgets for around one-and-half hour, her eyes would swell and become red because of rubbing them, over and over again. Not only this, she would also play games on mobile. After consulting the doctor in May, he said that she can get spectacles due to the long hours of screen time. Hence, she was given lubricants and was asked to come for the follow-up at the hospital. Now, the patient is fine and the swelling has reduced.

Amid Coronavirus lockdown, children are required to attend online classes and that is taking a toll on their eye health. “Due to the constant rubbing of eyes, the cornea of children may become thin and result in progressive permanent loss of the vision. Moreover, rubbing puts added pressure on the eyes owing to which refractive error that is astigmatism occurs. Astigmatism is a blurred vision caused by an unusually shaped cornea and one will require spectacles. Thus, refractive errors, redness, dryness, itchiness, and sore eyes cases in children have risen by 20% during the lockdown.  During the lockdown, 10 patients were treated on a daily. Out of 10 cases, 2 children may have refractive errors and require spectacles,” said Dr. Hemant Todkar, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Pune.

Dr. Todkar added, “These children are given lubricants or artificial tears to avoid itchiness, dryness of the cornea, and permanent changes in corneal structure. Good nutrition that is including food rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids, proper sleep, and reducing electronic gadget exposure of children from the age group of 0-17  for two-and-half hours every day. After two weeks, these children will not need spectacles and dryness and allergy goes away. An eye-protective film is formed in the front of the eye and the permanent refractive error can be avoided.”

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