Online classes not ‘easy on the eyes’ for schoolchildren


Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  With educational classes being pushed to digital platforms for the past one and half year due to the pandemic, there has been longer use of smartphones which may result in an increase of myopia cases amongst children in the coming days.

Dr Sikha Gupta, assistant professor, Dr RP Centre, AIIMS Delhi said that because mobile phones are affordable compared to other gadgets, many children are forced to attend classes and study using smartphones which can severely damage the eyes causing nearsightedness or common vision problem.

“Studying or attending online classes on smartphones is most harmful. Desktops and bigger screens should be used. If possible, connect to television for work or study. Keep the fonts larger and use brighter lights. It is better not to use mobile phones or smartphones for online classes but affording better gadgets may not be possible for all,” she added.

At AIIMS, there have not been many cases in OPDs related to myopia yet. However, Dr Gupta believes that owing to pandemic situations children are not being brought to hospitals. “The impact of almost two years of digital classes will be seen from next year. It will be visible after a year from now, but it is definitely going to harm children. There is no doubt that myopia cases are increasing. Children are spending more than 4 hours sitting in front of the screen. We are yet to see many cases at AIIMS as fewer patients are turning up,” she noted.

According to Dr Shalini Garg, consultant, Dept of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Moolchand Hospital, studies have proposed that the incidence of myopia may increase by 1.5 to 3 times following six months of enforced home schooling: and we are into almost 2 years of online studies.  “In our clinic nearly 90% of the children presenting with ocular symptoms have had induced myopia or increase in their power of glasses. Around 30% of children with no symptoms were picked up to have developed some myopia or signs of digital vision strain,” Dr Garg mentioned.

Talking about reasons that are leading to myopia, Dr Sikha Gupta explained that keeping screen close to eyes, dim lights, small fonts, tilted screen, wrong posture of seating are among the reasons that contribute to myopia.

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