The world as we now know it has changed. The recent health pandemic has changed learning for many, if not all, students. Previous classroom settings are now Zoom calls with the teacher and their classmates having their own screens but are nowhere to be seen. Prior to the pandemic, myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, was already on the rise. Some statistics had suggested that the global rate of myopia incidence would have increased to 50% of the population. This upwards trend will likely be affected by the increased screening time children are being exposed to.
With this increase in screen time as result of online school due to the pandemic, children are no longer spending as much time doing other things including being outdoors. Of course, there are genetic factors which are considered however there is a definite concern in regards to increasing myopia in children who must stay home as a result of the COVID-19 related lockdowns.
It is important for children to have a comprehensive eye exam. The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends a child’s first eye exam to be at the age of 6 months. Then again at 2-3 years old, and every year there after. In Ontario, yearly eye exams for children are covered by OHIP until they turn 20 years old.