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By D N Singh. Are we going to witness a generation in which there might be a sizable number with optical impairment. If childhood grows through a constrained vision , that can deteriorate the eyesight to an extent too serious for cure later. Online classes have become a choice between necessity and threat for health.
Are we going to witness a generation in which there might be a sizable number with optical impairment. If childhood grows through a constrained vision , that can deteriorate the eyesight to an extent too serious for cure later. Online classes have become a choice between necessity and threat for health. Dr Ashok Nanda, noted ophthalmologist & Surgeon in conversation with D N Singh.
Post the Covid outbreak millions of students have been force to get glued to the small screens of the smartphones and that too for hours a day. The mornings starts bang at 7 am when a bleary eyed kid is roped into hold the mobile set for the online classes. Minimum it goes for 3 to 4 hours each day when the child strains his or her optical nerves reading the texts and then brain storms for solutions. It is not merely the duration of classes but the subsequent hours the child has to remain engaged for the submissions through whatsaap.
A Necessary Evil!
Nobody knows how long it may go on but the beginning, according to experts, is ominous one, optically, mentally and in addition, the strains may lead to a situation when a comeback to the normality gets difficult.
Online classes, in fact, have come in addition to the habits of present day children’s’ addiction of video games and so on. Can it be said that, under whatever compulsions, the online classes have become a necessary evil ?
Let The Doctors Answer
“ Extensive viewing of the digital screen can lead to eye discomfort, headaches, dry eyes and other symptoms of eyestrain “ warned Dr Ashok Nanda as he foresees an inevitable weakening of the ophthalmic domains of a child and even that of adults. It can hardly be prescribed by the teaching fraternity that, what are the conditions required for a child for such a long session of screen engagement.
Teachers are just duty bound to somehow complete the syllabus and the authorities appear least concerned about what goes on within a child and the resultant stress they are subjected to.
Dr Nanda goes further to say that “ these symptoms are caused by vision problems, improper lighting, glare, and importantly, improper posture” and he claims that, “ how the children use the device may make them more susceptible than adults to the developments of these problems”.
Four to five hours a day under conditions of demands, glitches in network doubling the tension and importantly, a child’s visual and mental absorbing capacity, experts worry, “ in most cases symptoms occur because the visual demands of the task far exceed the visual abilities of the individual to be comfortable "
Kids have hardly any liberty to take a break from the screen as they meet the targets of time before the next class starts. “ Prolonged engagement with the screen without a significant break” Dr Nanda warned “ causes spasm of the accommodative muscle and eye irritation “
Ominous Signs For Posterity!
Its not alone reading a texts in a small screen but, what triggers phobia in a child when the online teacher instructs to open certain links of Google pouring the entire load on a child, of hardly between 6 to 8 years old, and get online or read the details there in. When he or she can be found struggling with bulging eyes to get the downloads.
“ Reports have expressed concern about retina damage after long exposure to the blue light transmitted by the LED devices and more so, such exposures at night can predispose to development of an early age related damage to retina” said Dr Nanda.
Is Online Teaching A Short-sighted Approach!
It has been also noted that, there is an increase in the number of short sighted children due to an overdose of engagement with the small screens, said Dr Nanda adding that, besides that, mental fatigue commonly leads to a state resulting in decrease in sleep which has very adverse impact on any human, let alone a child.
When there are sleep disturbances, there is always a fear of aggressive behavior , decrease in attention, undeveloped language skill, creativity and imagination besides a reduced physical activity leading to obesity and juvenile diabetes, said Dr Nanda further suggesting that, regular eye examinations ensuring child’s normal vision, reducing the use of the mobile phone and a 20-20-20 rule- after every 20 minutes of mobile use look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.