The fallout from the lockdown during the COVID =-19 pandemic continues.
A recent study has found a significant rise in dry eye disease among children likely
due to increased screen time. The cross-sectional study was a self-administered Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire for children between the ages of 10 and 18 and was conducted from October 2021 to January 2022. Three hundred twenty-nine patients who were outpatient pediatric ophthalmology patients at two clincs were included in the study.
The goal of the study was to determine the relationship between screen time during the lockdown and the rise in dry eye disease symptoms in children. Dry eye disease is caused by inadequate tear production to lubricate the eyes.
78.1% of participants who had 2 to 3 hours of screen time were found to have dry eye disease while 81.8% of participants who had 4 or more hours of screen exposure had dry eye disease. Older patients (between the ages of 12 and 18) had a higher risk of dry eye disease than the younger patients. In addition, participants wearing glasses were found to have a notably high incidence of dry eye disease compared to non-glasses participants (94.1% vs 68%).
Researchers concluded from the study results that dry eye disease symptoms did increase in children due to the prolonged screen time during the pandemic.