Online classes, no doubt, provide students to catch up on the classes lost due to the prolonged lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attending classes online without a break is said to be causing problems like dry eye syndrome, burning sensation of eyes, and ear problems.
Educationists and doctors have their own reservations on online classes for primary classes. Doctors suggest use of laptops and external speakers, instead of earphones, to avoid eye and ear problems.
Doctors are reporting many cases of eyestrain among children after online classes started in the state. “Cases are definitely rising and some are even detected with computer vision syndrome. Last week alone, I have seen around 5-10 cases of children with issues of blurring of vision, dry eyes, and headache. Most of the time, we find kids keeping the gadgets close to their eyes. This is bad for their eye muscles and when they put excessive effort, it causes blurring of vision,” said Dr Sanitha Sathyan, paediatric ophthalmologist at Chaitanya Eye Institute, Kochi.
The long hours children spend on computers and smart phones for online classes as schools remain shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic is beginning to bother parents as complaints of headaches, eye problems and stress surface, it has been learnt.
Time spent on screens not just for studies but for other activities as well is increasing, says a city-based psychiatrist, who, worryingly feels it’s turning out to be “worse than cannabis addition.”
The ministry of human resource development (MHRD) recommended just 30 hours of screen time for pre-primary students, two classes of 45 minutes each for classes 1 to 8 and four classes of 45 minutes each for classes 9 to 12, but that’s not working, parents allege. Many schools are not following the directions, which anyway are not binding.
Often times the classes are extended till evening in addition to coaching and extra classes which is an extra stress for out senses like eyes and ears. This explains the recent spike in the number of patients of all age groups.
Doctors pointed out that all these complaints are directly linked to extensive use of headphones at higher volume, mobile and laptops.
Doctors have warned that this could lead to hearing and eye difficulties among those who failed to curb the use of earphones, mobile phones and laptops.
ENT Specialist said, “Multiple people are working for more than eight hours wearing headphones and in front of laptops. This is putting a lot of stress on their ears and unsterilised earbuds or ear-plugs could spread infection.”
Hence, doctors advise removing the earphones from time-to-time in order to allow fresh air to go inside the ears. And also advise school children should not be using headphones at all. If they are attending classes on a laptop or personal computers, then the device volume is sufficient.