Elements related to health instructions can have an impact on eye health according to ophthalmologists. While prolonged exposure to screens can have temporary consequences, a decrease in outdoor activities can cause myopia in children and adolescents.
The eyes need exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays in order to develop normally until the age of 21. Too little sticking out could cause the eye to expand too much, causing myopia.
This vision disorder can have long-term effects, such as retinal detachment and a greater incidence of glaucoma.
“This is especially worrying with distance education for high school and CEGEP youth,” explains ophthalmologist from the Center hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), Mona Dagher. Myopia can get worse over time if you don’t get into the habit of going outside. ”
A recent study carried out with more than 120,000 Chinese students revealed that 15% more children needed glasses in 2020 compared to 2019. It puts the pandemic into question.
“It is a well-known situation in the community and we are afraid that it will worsen here too with the confinement”, she mentions.
The solution would be to spend an average of two hours a day outside in order to fill up on UV rays. Scientists still don’t know why the eyes need them, but they all agree that they are necessary for normal growth.
The prolonged exposure to screens caused by the pandemic also affects the ocular system, but only temporarily. No long-term effects can result, only discomfort.
When someone is focused on a screen, their eyes blink up to 50% less often, which affects their hydration. The tears present on the surface of the eye can then dry up and create itching.
“It is not a question of infection, but simply of irritation,” says the ophthalmologist in a private clinic, Jean-Pierre Chartrand.
Using artificial tears can help prevent this reaction. Warm wet compresses can also activate the glands in the eyelids to stimulate lubrication in the eyes.
Several other things can cause eye system fatigue such as posture, screen brightness, and viewing distance.
Dr. Dagher recommends that the light emitted by the screen be consistent with that present in the room, and that a distance of 50 cm be maintained with it. “The eyes will then work less to adapt to what is displayed,” she explains.
The ideal remains to take breaks. The two ophthalmologists recommend “20-20-20” hygiene. It’s about looking 20 meters away for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes spent on the screen.
Percentage of Quebecers who have increased their screen time since the start of the pandemic, according to a survey by the Academy of Digital Transformation.