Digital eye strain on the rise among youth

Health National

Parents say that the increase in eye problems is because of online education and work.

There has been an increase in digital eye strain among students since COVID-19 as shown in a survey conducted by the Department of Paediatric Ophthalmology and the Institute of Ophthalmology of Madhya Pradesh.

Yatish, who owns an optical shop named Lenshop said, “After the pandemic, there has been an increase in students in my client base.” He said, “Students complain the most about irritated eyes and headaches due to spending long hours on screen.”

Dr. Sanjay Tiwari, ophthalmologist and consulting optician at Government Medical College said, “From studies to shopping everything is now online and it is affecting younger generation the most.” He further said, “There is a rise of myopia cases caused due to harmful rays coming from the screen.” Myopia is a condition where a person cannot see objects far away clearly.

A study published in 2021 in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology shows an increased prevalence of digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome in children attending online classes. Fiftyfive percent of parents said there were no symptoms of eye problems before the COVID-19- lockdown and 26.6 percent of parents confirm that ocular problems like reduced sleep time, headache, and irritated eyes are a few common symptoms among the children. It also states 50 percent of children attending online classes for more than two hours a day reported symptoms of digital eye strain.

Rekha Khare, mother of a 12-year-old girl said, “My daughter used to wear glasses before the pandemic, but during the  pandemic when online classes started her eyesight became weaker. She started complaining about redness and itchiness in her eyes.”

Divya, a college student said, “There are various online courses that I am pursuing, even if it adds to my skill it is taking a toll on my health.”  She also said, “Now my college is also shifting to the online system. This has caused the increase in the power of my lens and I often suffer from headaches.”

Dr. Sanjay Tiwari added, “Use of mobile or laptops cannot be stopped but can be reduced. One should not use them while lying down and should include seasonal fruits and vegetables in their diet to ensure health.” 

He also said, “There are new blue light filter glasses that can be used to reduce the strain on eyes caused by rays inflicted through the screen.”