Eyesight problems rising among kids

With children spending more time on computers and mobile phones for online classes and gaming, eyesight problems among them are on the rise.

Children and teens between the ages of six and 18 have been found to be suffering from computer vision syndrome, reflective errors and other eye problems.

Many children are being diagnosed with convergence insufficiency - where the eyes are unable to work together when looking at nearby objects.

This condition causes one eye to turn outwards instead of inwards along with the other eye, creating double or blurred vision, according to Dr Anil Rastogi, a noted ophthalmologist in India.

Children working long hours on computers and smart phones usually complain of itching or burning in the eyes, watering, loss of retention power, besides headache and eye pain, he said.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, most children are spending eight to 10 hours on electronic devices daily.

"They are either attending online classes or watching cartoons or television and playing video games," said Dr Shikha Kumar, an ophthalmologist in India. "Parents feel this is the best way to keep them occupied, but this prolonged exposure to electronic devices is playing havoc with their eyesight."

Doctors say that children are being diagnosed with computer vision syndrome where they complain of pain, redness, dryness, blurring of vision, double vision and head and neck sprains.

Cases of reflective errors related to myopia and hypermetropia have also surfaced among children. Indications of vision problems can include headaches, blurred vision, muscle strain, eye rubbing, excessive tearing, pupils that aren't aligned, a wandering or shaky eye or a pupil that can appear milky or clear in a photo.

Uncorrected vision issues can have an emotional impact as well, by creating feelings of anxiety or isolation and behavioural changes and depression.

Doctors suggest eye exercises and frequent breaks from TV, computer and mobile phone screens to prevent permanent damage to the children's eyes.

In this "digital learning environment", children will be even more attached to technology.

As parents and caregivers prepare for these difficult and new challenges, they must remember that having the best vision a child can have, corrected where necessary with glasses or visual aids, is essential and an important first step for any student.

Indo-Asian News Service


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