Nature since its evolution has been undergoing several changes and human being too simultaneously. A lot of hit backs were faced by the human kind, which made us the most distinguished creature in this universe. The impact of Covid 19 does not make great difference in this regard. The word NEW NORMAL has become quite natural since a couple of years, wherein a tiny virus has proven its existence by spreading exponentially across the globe. The pandemic we are facing due to the onset and rapid spread of Covid 19 virus has paved a path for mutinous changes in the life style of people across the globe and we are not exceptional. The health care needs have drastically increased, throwing exotic challenges even to the experts. Every individual has got affected either directly or indirectly. The life style, mode of travel, work, system of education, business, e- commerce, etc have undergone revolutionary changes, which might have taken at least 2 to 3 decades for natural process, if Covid 19 wouldn’t have been there.
Education is one of the major areas that connect directly with children and their health care. The online or distance educational system has become common from pre-primary stage to the post-graduation grades. This has shown a direct impact on the Ocular health of children. The online system of learning made children to spend hours together in front of digital display screens of various gadgets. Along with the ocular abnormalities (eye problems), spine related issues, depression and other mental wellness issues are broadly termed as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The same concerns are encompassing the minds of children and parents too, wherein Ayurveda is proven to be effective.
1. Computer Vision Syndrome:
The excessive usage of electronic gadgets is showing devastating effects on the eye and its functioning. The display screens are showing adverse effects on the tender eyes of younger generation also. With our clinical experiences during pre and post pandemic phases, a comprehensive study has been conducted on a various number of eye diseases that are caused due to excessive usage of electronic gadgets by considering various other associated parameters like stress and strain, age of the user, time spending on gadgets, layer of the eye getting affected and many more.
In our present context of study, Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a condition where various other systemic symptoms and signs are also associated. Among the regular users of electronic gadgets, it is approximated that around 60 million people across the globe notices all or a few of the ocular abnormalities like redness, eye strain, eye pain, burning, itching, dryness, diplopia, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, foreign body sensation, sore eyes, swelling of eye, eye rash, watering from eyes, etc. Post pandemic, this number would definitely have increased by at least 10 million.
More than the people work in the outside environment; people who spend an average of 4hrs per day in front of Visual Display Terminal (VDT) develop obviously notable symptoms like tears, dryness, excessive blinking and other abnormalities
due to the malfunctioning of meibomian glands. These are a type of endocrine glands situated along the covering of eye lid and secrete oily substance which helps in keeping the eye moist.
The notable symptoms of CVS are visual symptoms, ocular symptoms, light sensitivity, musculoskeletal symptoms, psychological symptoms and general disorders. It is observed that Asthenopia or Eye strain is around 55% and 81% prevalent among the users of gadgets. With the continuous ad excessive usage of gadgets, near point convergence, foveal deviation for near vision and irregularities are also noticed. It is too tough to reset or get back the original quality of vision once the damage happens.
Also, school going children use desktop computers or mobile phones which are designed for adults. As the dimensions won’t match, it causes musculoskeletal pain and strains eye too. Though these adverse effects can be prevented by simple life style modifications and awareness, it is lacking in most of the areas across the globe.
Apart from ocular and musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders like depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, Attention Deficit Hyper Activity (ADHD), mood swings, eating disorders, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc. In these conditions, children need support from parents, teachers, peers and counseling by a professional psychologist along with treatments will be required in the advanced stages.
Mostly of the ocular abnormalities due to excessive usage of electronic gadgets can be screened through the clinical examination by an Ophthalmologist through a direct or indirect ophthalmoscope. For exact prognosis of the condition, Visual acuity (Snellen test), Refraction, Schirmer’s test, binocular vision, Spherical and Cylindrical deviations, etc will help. It is evident that only by watching at electronic display screens for a prolonged time do not cause all the ocular abnormalities but aggravates most of the problems. The same is predominantly observed in our clinical experience that the individuals with a known history of any ocular abnormality are extremely prone to the degenerative and vision threatening abnormalities if CVS is not diagnosed and treated at right time.
2. Radiation Emitted by Computers and Smart Phone Display Screens:
Ionising and non-ionisg radiatios are emitted by almost all the electronic devices for which is none is exceptional. This radiation includes various bands of frequencies of spectrum like visible light, UV rays, Infrared rays, X-rays and radio frequency waves which are emitted n minute levels are immeasurable but significant in the safety of eyes. Though the emitted radiation is found to be in the permissible limits, care has to be taken to maintain health of the health vision. Apart from the radiation, the electrostatic force of attraction due to the motion of charges developed on the screen of gadgets would attract the airborne minute particles, dust which would develop eye irritation and skin rashes in the case of children and sensitive people.
3. Recommended Care and Precautions:
The usage and the vast range of applications of the electronic gadgets are unable to be avoided in these trends of life. So it is required to protect the eyes by preventing the ocular abnormalities. The work place has to be illuminated adequately and at the same time shouldn’t be over illuminated. Based on the occupation, regular check-up of eyes and follow-ups from an Ophthalmologist will help an individual to diagnose and treat any of the ocular abnormalities in the preliminary stages.
Simple practices advised to maintain the health of eye by managing well with the electronic gadgets are: Repeated blinking of eyes and closing the eyes for a minute for once in 20 min will reduce the strain on the eye due to prolonged exposure to light. While using the gadgets, care has to be taken in using them at the “least glare mode”. Viewing an object (preferably greenery) at a distance of 20 feet for once in 20 minutes (20 – 20 – 20 formula) reduces strain on the eye. Taking a short break at equal intervals of time while working with gadgets, having a walk around, stretching the spine, etc will help us to rejuvenate the eyes and whole body too. Brightness and/ or Resolution of gadget should be maintained in accordance with individual’s eye’s condition. Adjustment of font size, contrast will help us read better. Washing of eyes with plain water keeps them fresh. It is recommended to avoid reading during travel. Often, the cleanliness of the screen and its visibility has to be check and maintained. Usage of goggles or plain refraction lens is good for professionals working with gadgets for prolonged hours. Optimum distance has to be maintained between the eyes and display screen. These are not the only precautions but would help most of the people to manage well with ocular abnormalities.
4. Special Guidelines to Parents:
If your child has any one of the following signs and symptoms, do consult a doctor immediately.
As we know that Prevention is better than Cure, let us all be aware of ocular conditions and preserve God’s gift of vision throughout our life. Ayurveda treatments at Sreedhareeyam Ayurvedic Eye Hospital and Research treatments include special modalities that address Ocular, Musculo-skeletal and Mental wellness treatments using a holistic approach. Care has to be taken in our life style, occupation and other medical factors to keep the eyes healthy. While selecting a gadget for usage, the specifications of the display should be checked and best
quality one has to be given priority. Addition to gadgets, playing video games and performing such motion capture entertainments would be avoided. Let us spare some time to think of the Value of Vision and keep it healthier, safer and long lasting.
Fig 1: Check your posture while using display screens
Fig 2: Right position for stable ocular and spinal health