Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
Increasing screen-time due to distance learning may result in a significant rise in complaints of eye issues such as redness and tired eyes, especially among children and young adults. Thus, parents and students should adopt necessary measures to minimise the impact of what is known as ‘Computer Vision Syndrome’, cautioned a leading Ophthalmologist.
“Using digital devices during distance learning is unavoidable. However, when we focus on a screen, the muscles in the eyes contract. If the muscles stay contracted for too long, they get tired and lead to strain and may affect eyesight, especially in the growing age,” said Dr Mohit Jain, Specialist Ophthalmologist at RAK Hospital. “This excessive use of devices not only puts a strain on the eyes but is also a risk factor for eye weakness and myopia. In other words, students staring at screens for prolonged periods may end up wearing glasses, and if they are wearing glasses already, the power may increase rapidly.”
More severe consequences of prolonged screen-time can be blurred vision, neck pain, irritated eyes, dizziness, double vision, and difficulty in refocusing eyes.
Discussing tips on ways to moderate the excessive use of devices, Dr Jain advised that parents - as a first step - need to restrict the use of devices when it comes to entertainment and amusement. More importantly, children need to follow the 20-20-20 rule to give their eyes much-needed break from watching the screen - that is, after every 20 minutes of screen time; they should look away and stare at a distance of approximately 20 feet for 20 seconds before looking back at the device. This helps to relax the eye muscles.
“Generally, when children stare at screens, they tend to blink far less than they would usually do causing the eyes to dry out. Blinking keeps the eyes moist and clean. Therefore, parents should encourage their children to blink at regular intervals, even if it requires constant repeated reminders. A simple tip to do that is to stick a reminder note to the device itself,” added Dr Jain.
He also advised parents to ensure that children and young adults should keep their devices at a safe distance of 18 to 26 inches to avoid ‘over contracting’ the eye muscles.
Other tips include sitting in a place open to natural sunlight which is far more beneficial to the eyes and opting for regular check-ups to ensure perfect eye health.
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