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 Table of Contents  
CLINICAL CHALLENGE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 32  |  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 Submission01-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance04-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication25-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sanitha Sathyan
Vettam Eye Clinic, Perumpilly, Mulanthuruthy, Ernakulam - 682 314, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/kjo.kjo_94_20

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  Abstract 


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

How to cite this URL:
Sathyan S. “Quarantine myopia:” Revisiting myopia control strategies during COVID-19 pandemic. Kerala J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 30];32:199-200. Available from: http://www.kjophthal.com/text.asp?2020/32/2/199/293312



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.[1]

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.[2] Prolonged home confinement during COVID-19 pandemic is likely to affect their physical and mental health.[3] 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).[4] Recent studies have pointed out that insufficient time spent outdoors and duration and intensity of near-work activities,[5] brightness and spectrum of light, energy at higher spatial frequencies, peripheral defocus, and circadian rhythm[6] 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

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Available from: https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse. [Last accessed on 2020 Jun 22].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Brazendale K, Beets MW, Weaver RG, Pate RR, Turner-McGrievy GM, Kaczynski AT, et al. Understanding differences between summer vs. school obesogenic behaviors of children: The structured days hypothesis. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2017;14:100.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
BrooksSK, WebsterRK, SmithLE, WoodlandL, WesselyS, GreenbergN, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: Rapid review of the evidence.Lancet2020;395: 912-20.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Huang HM, Chang DS, Wu PC. The association between near work activities and myopia in children – A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One 2015;10:E0140419.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Lingham G, Mackey DA, Lucas R, Yazar S. How does spending time outdoors protect against myopia? A review. British Journal of Ophthalmology. 2020;104:593-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Wen L, Cao Y, Cheng Q, Li X, Pan L, Li L, Zhu H, Lan W, Yang Z. Objectively measured near work, outdoor exposure and myopia in children. British Journal of Ophthalmology 2020.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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