Corona pandemic, a nightmare brought a pause all over the world, halted all the activities. Almost every profession is at halt. But as far as academics and schools are concerned, the good thing is that lockdown and Covid pandemic started at the end of March when the academic session was almost completed for all classes. Kids entered in summer vacation just by few days earlier than usual.
Dr Poonam HarkutThough the summer vacation is supposed to use for enjoying extracurricular activities, many private classes started the online learning as a solution to kids. Many schools too started online classes some lasting for about 5 hrs. Surprisingly few of them involved not only elder kids but younger kids too who were actually supposed to enjoy summer vacations. Since all kids stuck up at home, many of us thought it as a better way to engage the kids.
Online academic activities legitimized the prolong use of computers and smart phones. All of us are aware that using smart phone and computer for long duration causes various ill effects on eyes. Prolonged period of near work causes convergence insufficiency, in which the ability of the eyes to focus well on near objects is impaired. This causes symptoms like eye fatigue and sometimes even double vision. Using these gadgets for long time also reduces blinking which leads to dryness. In younger children it increases the risk of developing and progressing myopia. It is well known fact that smart phone and computer emits blue rays.
Long term exposure to blue rays emitted from these gadgets is associated with damage to retina. Though it is still unclear how much blue rays and for how long will lead to retinal damage. But we do know that the damage if at all happens is irreversible.
So are we ready to take the risk, at least for the kids where we can avoid this exposure? Is it that necessary to expose our kids at this tender age to many hours of computer/smart phone use? Therefore we need to balance all these things for elder kids by moderating near work on mobile/computer devices, to max 2 hrs with break after every 30 minutes. We ought to ensure that device held at least 30 cm away. But we should follow strict no for the younger kids. Parents can be best teacher to children thus we can get involved in their studies and academic activities during this lockdown. We can encourage our child to engage in other indoor activities in this pandemic so that we can keep them away from playing games on mobile too.
Though it is unfortunate to get exposed to this pandemic but the good side is, it has given us the opportunity to get involved with our kids and to spend quality time with them. It is our responsibility to choose the things wisely!
Dr. Poonam Harkut Consultant Ophthalmologist