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Investigating the impact of virtual learning on vision

Ophthalmologists presented research exploring the relationship between screen time and eye strain at the AAO annual meeting in November

boy on desktop
Pixabay/Marc Thele

Ophthalmologists from Wills Eye Hospital in the US have presented research exploring the effect of virtual learning on children’s vision at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (12-15 November, New Orleans).

The study involved a survey of 110 students between the ages of 10 and 17, with school days varying in length between three and 10 hours. Participants were surveyed before and after school.

The researchers revealed that the more time the students spent online, the more likely they were to experience problems with eye strain and convergence insufficiency.

Overall, more than half (57%) of students experienced eye strain while 61% showed symptoms of convergence insufficiency.

Within the group that experienced convergence insufficiency, 17% were considered severe cases.

Researcher, Dr Judith Lavrich, highlighted that even healthy children can develop eye problems from computers and tablets.

“This is important because we know digital technology is here to stay, even post-pandemic. Parents should be aware and asking kids if they are experiencing these symptoms,” she said.