Short Sightedness On Rise Among Kids During Pandemic

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Myopia is a condition where only the near objects can be seen clearly, and the far away objects will be blurry. This happens when the shape of the eye makes the light to refract incorrectly and it focuses the image in front of the retina and not on the retina.

‘Increased screen time and decreased outdoor activities cause short sightedness (Myopia) among children.’

The study was conducted in Hong Kong, one of the densely populated city having high rise buildings and small apartments. The pandemic had restricted the outdoor timings in children, and they spent more time indoors playing with gadgets. This had increased short-sightedness among them, and also the risk of developing other complications related to eyesight.

The study was conducted among 1793 children between the ages 6 to 8 and they were part of Hong Kong Children Eye Study (HKCES). About 709 children were monitored at the start of the pandemic for about 8 months (December 2019 to January 2020) and 1084 children were monitored for 3 years before the pandemic.The results showed that:

• 1 in 5 (19.5%) children of the pandemic group had developed myopia between January and August 2020 whereas only 1 in 3 children had developed myopia in the pre-pandemic group.

• Other factors like age,gender,length of monitoring, parental myopia and the amount of time spent outdoors increased the risk of short-sightedness among children.

During the pandemic the outdoor time spent by the children was reduced to 15 mins from one hour/day and the screen time was increased from 2.5 hours/day to 7 hours/day. This had a drastic effect on their eyesight.

According to researchers,”Despite all these insurmountable study limitations, our initial results still show an alarming myopia progression that warrants appropriate remedial action.”

The study concludes by saying that the policy makers, parents and educators should work collectively to prevent childhood myopia (short-sightedness) which is linked with covid-19.

Source: Medindia

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