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Myopia: The Pandemic’s Long-Term Effects! Contact Ojas – Eye Hospital

February 23, 2023

New research reveals another worrying side effect linked to the pandemic: worsening eyesight among children. Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is the inability to view distant objects clearly. The majority of young adults and children are affected by it. There was a drastic increase in the number of myopic children during and after the pandemic.

The occurrence of myopia was already common, and after the lockdown, however, we have noticed that many kids are presenting with serious refractive errors, ranging from -2D to -8D and beyond! This is quite shocking and has been noted mainly since online schooling began.

Why did this occur?

  • The main culprit appears to be an increase in screen time due to online classes.
  • Considerable contributions come from screen time during leisure, including social media, OTT platforms, and online games.
  • Constantly looking at a screen puts the eyes under accommodative stress, which causes the eyeball to elongate and cause myopia.
  • Not wearing glasses causes increased eye strain and promotes myopia.
  • Even once the lockdown was lifted, certain harmful digital habits and internet addictions persisted.
  • Lack of outdoor activities and exposure to sunlight also affects the normal development of the eyeball.

How can we prevent myopia following the pandemic?

  • Practice excellent eye hygiene by limiting screen time, taking frequent breaks between classes or sessions, reading at a comfortable distance (33 to 40 cm), using good lighting, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and engaging in regular outdoor activities.
  • It appears that young children who use technology excessively suffer as they are growing, with the 5–15 age range being particularly susceptible to a rise in eyeball length. Therefore, one must limit a child’s exposure to the internet.
  • Please also undergo routine eye exams, especially if your child squints, leans in close to books or the TV, or if someone in the family wears glasses.
  • Experts recommend the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It will allow the eyes to rest for a while.

Digital devices are here to stay, but it is up to us to use them wisely, manage their use, and alleviate our children’s fear of myopia.

Tags: Myopia

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