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The authors undertook a prospective cross-sectional questionnaire-based observation study to evaluate digital eye strain prevalence, knowledge, attitude and practice pattern scores among parents of children attending online classes. For the questionnaires, a Google survey form was used consisting of 39 questions across five sections relating to demographic data, digital device use, knowledge, attitude and practice patterns. The required sample size was 252 and, in total, 305 participants were recruited. Mean age was 11.7 ±3.2 years (range 3-17), 44.3% male and 55.7% female. Children were in grades 2-5 (25.9%) and grades 6-10 (56.39%). Of these, 48.85% had a history of wearing glasses and 25.24% had a sibling who wore glasses. Online learning was done using a smart phone (n262), laptop (n62), smart TV (n16) and desktop computer (n5). Complaints relating to digital eye strain were reported by 64.6%, including headache (51%) and ocular pain (9.64%). Most considered daily safe use as a limit of 1-2 hours and breaks every 30 minutes. Mean knowledge score was 48.5 ±5.1 (of a total 65). Attitude included thoughts of online learning as a suitable alternative during the pandemic but not to be continued afterwards – mean attitude score of 26.7 ±4.9 (of total 35). Practice patterns included daily screen time, precautions, break times and quality time with a mean score of 17.8 ±3.5 (of total 24). Phone use was of concern as it is considered to predispose those at risk to digital eye strain. The prevalence of digital eye strain was found to be 64.6% exceeding normal pre-pandemic levels of 22.3-39.8%. There was a significant lag in parents’ knowledge of safe use of devices in order to prevent continued high levels of digital eye strain and increased prevalence of myopia.

Knowledge, attitude and practice patterns related to digital eye strain among parents of children attending online classes in the COVID-19 era: a cross-sectional study.
Kaur K, Kannusamy V, Gumani B, et al.
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Fiona Rowe (Prof)

Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool, UK.

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