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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 2378-2383

Impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on digital device-related ocular health

Department of Ophthalmology, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fayiqa Ahamed Bahkir
Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Chengalpet - 603 308, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2306_20

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Purpose: Since the declaration of the lockdown due to COVID-19, the usage of digital devices has gone up across the globe, resulting in a challenge for the visual systems of all ages. The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of the lockdown on digital device usage, and consequently, the ocular surface health implications and circadian rhythm abnormalities related to digital eye strain. Methods: An open online survey was sent through various social media platforms and was open for a period of 2 weeks. Results: A total of 407 usable responses were obtained; the average age of respondents was 27.4 years. Typically, 93.6% of respondents reported an increase in their screen time since the lockdown was declared. The average increase in digital device usage was calculated at about 4.8 ± 2.8 h per day. The total usage per day was found to be 8.65 ± 3.74 hours. Sleep disturbances have been reported by 62.4% of people. Typically, 95.8% of respondents had experienced at least one symptom related to digital device usage, and 56.5% said that the frequency and intensity of these symptoms increased since the lockdown was declared. Conclusion: The study highlighted the drastic increase in use of digital devices after the initiation of the COVID-19 lockdown, and along with it, the slow deterioration of ocular health across all age groups. Awareness about prevention of digital eye strain should be stressed, and going forward, measures to bring these adverse effects to a minimum should be explored.

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