Increase in cases of refractive eye error among students due to online education; tips for improving eye health

The growing use of digital devices for online education among college students has led to an increasing prevalence of refractive errors among school and college students, according to a survey conducted by New York-based RJ Sankara Eye Hospital. Panvel.

Of the 247 students screened in the hospital’s OPD (outdoor patient ward), 79 students were detected for refractive error, up 32 percent from the normal trend of 10-15 percent, according to the doctors at the New Panvel-based hospital.

Refractive error causes blurry and hazy vision on an individual’s eyes and common symptoms include headaches and can further lead to digital eye strain (DES)

According to another study recently published in Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, out of the 217 students who participated in the survey, 109 students suffered from ESD, of which 26% were mild, 13% were moderate and 11% were severe grade with the symptoms. the most common being itching and headache.

The average time spent using electronic devices has increased to 5 hours per day for 36% of students due to online teaching or e-learning introduced during the pandemic after schools closed.

The risk of ESD is seen to increase significantly for students who spend 4-5 hours a day on digital devices, according to several other studies, said Dr. Ankita, a pediatric ophthalmologist at RJ Sankara Eye Hospital, who is one of the 12 ocular super-specialties. hospitals run in nine Indian states by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust – a social enterprise.

If detected early, vision therapy can help prevent the progression of digital eye strain symptoms.

“Vision therapy includes a series of in-office and home exercises administered over a period of weeks or months using special glasses, filters, prisms, and computer vision programs that improve focusing, eye coordination and tracking,” Dr. Ankita said.

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