COVID-19 is the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome and due to its outbreak, it has been declared as Public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). The lockdowns and stay home orders of government to minimize the spread have made the globe digitalized. Due to the global crisis schools and colleges are closed. With the lockdown keeping the children out of school, education has taken a new platform which is known as E-learning, online learning, or distance learning process.

As the current scenario, across the world use of the device has increased not only for educational purposes but also for work from home, entertainment, gaming and chat with friends, etc. Screen time is raised, so that many of the children and students suffered from symptoms like intermittent blurring vision, eye ache, headache, end of the day dryness and also the neck pain, shoulder pain and may interrupt the sleep cycle also in this lockdown era. The excessive use, usually more than the 8hr use of a computer or any digital device may lead to cause computer vision syndrome, which is now becoming the digital vision syndrome due to excessive use of a mobile, computer, laptop, smartwatch, etc.

Today, students are learning from online sessions, some of the 10-12th class students and college students are also using some educational apps to creak the exams, same as the learning they are using devices for entertainment purposes also. Eye-related complaints are increasing from children. Even many of the parents are asking frequently how to stay away from children from the devices and also worried about excessive use of devices the prescription might get an increase. So, how to manage eye health with digitalization? In this digitalized world, we cannot simply eliminate the digital device use from this current lifestyle or we also cannot stop students and children from learning but some simple lifestyle modification can do for eye health. We can balance the eye health and device used by decreasing device use with some simple eye exercises and routine changes.

Managing eye health with COVID-19 digital learning:

  • Clear vision: it is necessary to have a sharp-clear vision, if having blurred vision or any asthenopic symptoms, first take an appointment and meet your eye care practitioner and gets your full eye check-up. If already wearing glasses get your eye check every 6month to 1yr.
  • Eye muscle exercise: Due to the excessive use of digital devices eye muscles get stressed and tired. So, take help from your optometrist, they will tell about how to do eye exercise. The simple eye exercise for relaxing the muscles can be done not only by the students but all age groups can perform it. Do this simple eye movement at least twice in a day: first with a straight head, move you’re both eyes up and hold it for 3secs, then look down and hold it. Do the same for right and left side do this for at list 10-15 times then close your eyes for 3secs and then open repeat it for 3-5 times.
  • Frequent Blinking: usually we blink 16-18 times per min, but when we use digital devices blinking rate decreases. So, try to use 20-20-20 Rule this means, every 20 min take a break for 20 Sec and see for distance and blink for 20 times that keeps eye hydrated.
  • Sitting while learning: due to that, the upper body remains fixed for a long time. If the level of the digital device and eye not correct, discomfort, and neck -back muscle-related problems increases. Even using smartphones one hand remains constantly in use so that may lead to pain. Try to sit on a table and chair or sit where you have proper posture, try to avoid sitting with improper posture. The back should be straight, arm in rest, and adjust the height of the desk or chair so the eyes should be slightly above screen. Make at least 50-70cm distance from your digital screen like tablets, phones, or laptops.

  • Room light: The illumination of the light is important while using devices. Many of the students use the devices by switching off the room and use it for a long period that causes eye-related issues. Try to sit in a naturally illuminated room. Arrange screen that all light comes from the side not from front or back, so that excessive light and glare do not come on the screen. Make at least 50-70cm distance from your digital screen like tablets, phones, or laptops.
  • Breaks: Take a frequent break of every 1hr and do some stretching of the body for a movement. Make sure that after online sessions they spend minimum time with devices.

First, turn your neck to the right and hold it for 5 sec and then turn to the left a. then tilt your head to the right than tilt it to the left. Then move a face up and down. We can do some hand and leg stretching also.

  • Protect eyes from blue rays: Blue Light from digital devices may lead to digital eye strain and that could disturb the wake and sleep cycle also. Use the blue protected filter on a digital device or use night mode to avoid blue rays. Try to not use the phone before 2hr of sleep.
  • Spend time with family: Make a time to speed with family and yourself, too. Try to play with kids. Try to learn the children outdoors-indoor games or activity so that they can play it and enjoy it and engaged in activities.

So, it is not easy to stay away from digital devices as we are dependent on it at some level. We cannot stop the students from learning, but at least some of the lifestyle modification can change by creating a simple habit can help the child’s eye health. Even though it is not easy to do all together, but small steps towards it can make a habit and create a change towards eye health.

Optom.Shivani Kansara
Pursuing M.optometry
Hari Jyot College of Optometry
Navsari, Gujarat

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