|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 199-200
“Quarantine myopia:” Revisiting myopia control strategies during COVID-19 pandemic
Department of Ophthalmology, Chaithanya Eye Institute, Palarivattam, Kochi; Vettam Eye Clinic, Ernakulam, Kerala, India
|Date of Submission||01-Jul-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||04-Jul-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||25-Aug-2020|
Dr. Sanitha Sathyan
Vettam Eye Clinic, Perumpilly, Mulanthuruthy, Ernakulam - 682 314, Kerala
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the risk factors associated with childhood myopia such as increased time indoors, increased screen time, less outdoor activity, and less exposure to sunlight. Myopia control strategies are likely to be affected negatively during the times of this pandemic. This report discusses the likely impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the myopia control strategies and raises concerns about the accelerated silent spread of myopia epidemic during a much noisy pandemic.
Keywords: Childhood refractive error, COVID pandemic, myopia, quarantine myopia
|How to cite this article:|
Sathyan S. “Quarantine myopia:” Revisiting myopia control strategies during COVID-19 pandemic. Kerala J Ophthalmol 2020;32:199-200
COVID-19 pandemic has made a huge impact on the economic, health care, and social well-being in almost all the countries of the world. With regulations such as closure of schools, social distancing, staying indoors, and travel restrictions, children are also affected by this “new normal.” Due to country-wide school closures in 123 countries, more than one billion school-going learners are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This accounts for 62.3% of total learners enrolled in preprimary, primary, lower-secondary, and upper-secondary levels of education, as well as at tertiary education levels, worldwide.
It has been reported that structured environment in schools may help physical and mental well-being of children through compulsory physical activity opportunities, restricting caloric intake, reducing screen time occasions, and regulating sleep schedules. Prolonged home confinement during COVID-19 pandemic is likely to affect their physical and mental health. In many of the places, online digital screen-based classes are initiated for school students, adding to the near work and screen time spent for entertainment and nonformal education. All these factors have the potential to hike the incidence of myopia among children worldwide.
Owing to the high visual demands among school-going children, near work has been considered as a potential cause to the development of myopia. Although the association between time spent reading and myopia has not been categorically proved, a metaanalysis of 27 studies recommends reduction of time spent reading to lower the risk of children developing myopia (Level II B evidence). Recent studies have pointed out that insufficient time spent outdoors and duration and intensity of near-work activities, brightness and spectrum of light, energy at higher spatial frequencies, peripheral defocus, and circadian rhythm are linked two myopia.
Prolonged home confinement increases the chances for more near work in the form of reading and screen time along with reduction in sunlight exposure and outdoor activity. As of now, the duration of this confinement cannot be predicted in many parts of the world. The pandemic has also affected the access for eye checkups due to the travel restrictions and social distancing norms in many countries. This is likely to affect myopia control strategies and may accelerate the silent epidemic of myopia amidst a much noisy COVID-19 pandemic.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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