It has been witnessed that the utilization of gadgets like mobiles, tablets, and laptops has increased immensely among children after the pandemic. As a result of COVID, most parents increased screen hours to keep their children entertained within the house premises without realizing that the increase in screen time can raise the chances of eye problems during childhood.
How screen time affects the eyes?
Longer or continuous screen exposure cause stain in ciliary muscle (eye muscles that help in focus). Moreover, it has been observed that children blink less than usual while using their gadgets, which may cause dry eyes leading to further issues.
Eye problems associated with prolonged screen time
Following are a few issues a child can face due to longer screen-exposure
Dry and irritated eyes
Dry and irritated eyes are the primary complaints mainly associated with the overuse of computer mobiles and other electronic appliances. Continuously spending time on the screen makes eyes tired and irritated. We usually give phones and tablets to our children to play with as toys, but this way, we disturb their vision which may lead to severe complications in the future. Dry eyes lead to many extreme conditions. It may cause itching, and the child starts rubbing, which damages the cornea and can cause corneal ulcers and other infections that can cause permanent blindness.
Asthenopia, commonly known as eye fatigue, causes headaches and dim vision by the prolonged focus on gadgets. Children suffering from asthenopia face tiredness, eye pain, and severe headaches. This may cause hindrances in studies and daily chores.
Lack of flexibility
Due to continuous and extended exposure to the screen, it becomes hard for the eyes to focus on distant vision. However, this does not last long, and the eyes adjust to normal.
Myopia is the most crucial issue in today’s world. When we give more time to our phones, our eyes use all their power to focus for long durations, and this causes a change in refractive status. Myopia badly affected children during COVID-19 because of school closures. All studies and schooling were done through online apps and websites. This duration badly affects the eye health of children and adults.
Computer vision syndrome
CVS is another major eye problem in children and adults because of prolonged hours on gadgets. In addition, it has symptoms like neckaches, backaches, blurred vision, eye irritation, and muscle fatigue that may cause hindrance in a kid’s performance in school and home activities.
Ways for Eye protection
- Use the 20-20-20-2 rule while using gadgets. The rule states to take a break of 20sec after every 20mins of screen time, focus on anything 20 feet away, and blink 20 times. Also, urge your kid to play outdoors for at least 2 hours a day for better eyes health and prevention of Myopia.
- Use the rule 1-2-10 while using screens. The rule states to ask your children to keep the mobile screen 1 foot and the computer screen 2 feet far while using, whereas sit at least 10 feet away from the television screen.
- It is better to perform school work or play games on a larger screen like a laptop than on a mobile.
- Ensure that your child lessens the brightness of gadgets.
- Screen time should be minimalized as much as possible.
- An annual comprehensive eye examination for each kid for better vision.
After COVID-19 hit the world, screen time immensely increased in children’s daily routines for education and recreational purposes. On the one hand, it proved highly beneficial; on the other hand, it impacted children’s eyes badly. Longer and continuous screen time caused a rise in eye diseases such as asthenopia, Myopia, computer vision syndrome, etc. As screen time can not be eliminated from the life of children, one may follow a few rules to protect the eyes from damage.