Digital Eye Strain in Children: Causes and Prevention

Dr Nandini Sankaranarayanan
September 28, 2020

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The booming market for digital devices has flooded us with plenty of options to choose from, for various purposes ranging from entertainment to educational and professional uses. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops and video gaming devices have come to play an important part in our daily lives, however, they have also impacted our lifestyles, resulting in some new types of health issues. One of the most common results of the improper/excessive use of digital devices has been an unpleasant eye condition called ‘digital eye strain’.

What is digital eye strain?

Digital eye strain results from spending long hours on digital devices. Common symptoms include watering, itching, stinging or burning sensation, with tired and achy eyes. Sometimes there may be blurring of vision and headache after intense use of digital devices.

Until recently, this condition was commonly seen among IT professionals. But lately, we see many children as young as 4-5 years old being brought to the Ophthalmologist, with digital eye strain.

What has changed for these children? With the shifting of schools to online learning due to the current pandemic, children now spend longer durations with gadgets. It is important that we teach our children on ways to use digital devices without straining their eyes.

Dos and Don’ts for children while using digital devices for long durations

1. Make sure that they sit in well-lit rooms.

2. The device must have a large screen. Avoid small screens like mobile phones or tablets.

3. The screen should be about 40-50 cm from the eyes with a tilt of 10-20 degree and just below the eye level for comfortable viewing.

4. Encourage them to take a break from the screen every 20 minutes or so, and look at some far off object about 20 feet away for 20 seconds before resuming work on the screen. This is called 20-20-20 rule which gives much needed relief for the muscles of the eyes.

5. Use break times to rest and relax the eye. Avoid using digital devices during breaks.

6. Encourage them to blink more often. The blink rate of eyes comes down to about 3-4 from a normal blink rate of 12-15, as one works on the screen for long periods. This hampers the spreading of tear-film, causing dry patches and discomfort in the eyes.

7. For any online extracurricular activities, it’s a good idea to cast it on television which has a bigger screen and can be viewed from far off distance without strain on the eyes.

8. Avoid screen-related activities about 1-2 hours prior to bedtime.

When to consult a doctor

Following the tips outlined above will go a long way in avoiding digital eye strain, especially in young eyes. In spite of all these precautions, it’s not unusual for the child to complain of redness, watering, itching, blurring, headache and in severe cases, even squinting of eyes.

In any of the aforementioned cases, immediate consultation must be sought from a qualified Specialist Ophthalmologist who will thoroughly evaluate their eyes and give appropriate treatment. It’s not unusual for the ophthalmologist to detect refractive problems or squint in eyes which the child and parents may not be aware of.

The only connect for our children with the outside world in these challenging times is through these digital devices! Let us not chide them for using these devices, but teach them the proper way of utilizing them for their benefit!

 

Dr Nandini Sankaranarayanan is a Specialist Ophthalmologist at Thumbay Medical and Dental Specialty Centre, Sharjah.

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News Network
October 21,2020

Ballari, Oct 21: At least nine people including four women were killed and many suffered injuries in lightning strikes as thunderstorm lashed parts of north Karnataka yesterday.

Two women were killed in the lightning strike at Bhairapur village in Siruguppa taluk, Ballari district, when they were removing weed at a chilli farm. Similarly, two shepherd women were struck dead by lightning at Chikkaulligeri in Saundatti taluk of Belagavi district. Deceased have been identified as Yellavva Inchal (30) and Bhagavva Kadakol (50). Revanna Malagi has suffered severe burns in the incident.

Around 50 sheep belonging to Srikant Dalawai of Hukkeri were killed in a lightning strike near Naviluthirtha.

Lightning strike claimed two farmers at Devaragudda road in Ranebennur, Haveri district. Victims have been identified as Dayananda Patil (50) and Parameshwarappa Kalammanavar (49).

In yet another incident of lightning strike reported from Hathalli in Chadchan taluk of Vijayapura district, Dhareppa Biradar (45) was killed while returning home in his bullock cart. Interestingly, oxen escaped unhurt in the incident.

Roopa Chouhan (14), a Class VI student from Gedageri tanda in Yelburga taluk of Koppal district and Bhagwantaraya Keramagi, aged 26, from Astaga village in Kalaburagi taluk, also killed in lightning strikes.

Vijayapura district experienced a widespread thundershowers in the day. However, the floodwaters in Krishna, Ghataprabha and Bhima rivers have receded.

Belagavi city and parts of district, including Khanapur, Examba, Chikkodi, Sadalga, Ramdurg and Bailhongal, have received spells of moderate to heavy showers on Tuesday.

Parts of Gadag, Haveri and Dharwad district, including twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad, witnessed heavy showers with thunder for over one hour.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rainfall in 25 districts for Wednesday and Thursday.

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News Network
October 16,2020

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Dinesh Karthik has handed over the Kolkata Knight Riders captaincy to Eoin Morgan midway through IPL 2020. Karthik said the decision would help him focus on his batting more. Knight Riders are currently fourth on the points table, with four wins in seven matches.

"We are fortunate to have leaders such as DK who has always put the team first, "Knight Riders CEO Venky Mysore said in a statement. "It takes a lot of courage for someone like him to take a decision such as this.

"While we were surprised by his decision, we are respectful of his wishes. We are also fortunate that Eoin Morgan, the 2019 World Cup-winning captain, who has been the vice captain, is willing to lead the side going forward. DK and Eoin have worked brilliantly together during this tournament and although Eoin takes over as captain, this is effectively a role swap and we expect that this transition will work in a seamless manner."

Morgan, who led the England ODI team to a World Cup win in 2019, was bought by the Knight Riders for INR 5.25 crore at the December 2019 auction. After seven league games, Morgan is second on the list of most runs for the Knight Riders this season, hitting 175 runs at an average of 35. Karthik has scored 108 runs at an average of 15.42.

Karthik was earmarked as a leader after they parted ways with Gautam Gambhir after the 2017 season. The Knight Riders bought him for INR 7.4 crores ahead of the 2018 season, where they finished fourth. Last year, they failed to make the playoffs.

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News Network
October 19,2020

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Bengaluru, Oct 19: The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) on Monday predicted heavy rains likely over south interior Karnataka (SIK), Malnad and parts of north interior Karnataka (NIK) regions, and light to moderate rains over coastal regions.

In a detailed prediction valid till 8.30 am on October 20, the KSNDMC said that there will be widespread light to moderate rains with isolated heavy to very heavy rains over Ramanagara, Mandya, Mysuru, Chikkaballapura, Chamrajanagara, Tumakuru and Chitradurga districts of SIK.

"Scattered to widespread light to moderate rains likely over Kolar, Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Davanagere districts of SIK," it stated.

For the region in NIK, the KSNDMC said that fairly widespread to widespread light to moderate rains with isolated heavy to very heavy rains likely over Bellary district and up to moderate rains likely over Koppala, Raichur, Haveri, Dharwad, Gadag and Bagalkote districts.

"Scattered to fairly widespread light to moderate rains likely over Belagavi, Vijayapura and Yadgir districts. Isolated light to moderate rains likely over remaining districts of the NIK region," it added.

The Malnad region will witness scattered to widespread light to moderate rains with isolated heavy rains over Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and Kodagu districts and moderate rains over Shivamogga district.

Moreover, in coastal Karnataka, places like Uttara Kannada, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts will have scattered to widespread light to moderate rains.

There are chances of thunderstorm with lightning at isolated places over Karnataka.

At present, Karnataka is facing floods in various parts of the state due to heavy rainfall from the past few weeks.

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