Study: More screen time during pandemic led to eye problems in children

A new study said that eye issues are popping up in more children after they spent more time in front of screens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Journal of American Medical Association Ophthalmology found that rates of nearsightedness among young children were three times higher during the pandemic than in the last five years.

A new study said that jump in screen time appeared to cause an increase in eye issues.

“Due to COVID-19 in 2020, the school-aged children were confined to their homes from January to May, and online courses were offered,” researchers wrote. “For the screened population, their daily online course hours for grades 1 and 2 is 1 hour and the time for grades 3 to 6 is 2.5 hours. Children’s indoor activities and screen time therefore increased and their outdoor activities were decreased, often to none.”

Researchers looked at more than 120,000 children between 6 and 13 years old during the pandemic.

The biggest uptick in nearsighted cases was seen in those children between 6 and 8 years old.

With an increase in online learning and people increasing the use of computers and phones … the World Health Organization estimates that half of the world population may be nearsighted by 2050.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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