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Eyesight problems rising among children, say experts

By IANS Time of article published Sep 21, 2020

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

Children aged from six to 18 have been found to be suffering from convergence efficiency, computer vision syndrome, reflective errors and other eyesight problems.

An estimated 40 percent of children have complained of various eye and vision-related problems in recent weeks.

Most of the children are being diagnosed with convergence insufficiency – a condition in which the eyes are unable to work together when looking at nearby objects. This condition causes one eye to turn outward instead of inward with the other eye, creating double or blurred vision, said ophthalmologist Anil Rastogi.

Children spending long periods of time on computers and smartphones often complain of itching or burning eyes, watering, loss of retention power, and headache and eye pain, Rastogi said.

Shikha Kumar, another ophthalmologist, said that since the lockdown, most children have been found to be spending eight to 10 hours on electronic devices.

"They are either attending online classes, or watching cartoons or television and playing video games. Parents feel that this is the best way to keep them occupied but this prolonged exposure to electronic devices is playing havoc with their eyesight," she pointed out.

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 pain.

Cases of myopia (short-sightedness) and hypermetropia (long-sightedness) have also surfaced among children.

Doctors suggest eye exercises and frequent breaks from screen time to prevent permanent damage to the eyes.

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