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COVID-19 and children's eye health: the negative impact on myopia progression

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's eye health has been alarming. The pandemic has led to a significant increase in myopia progression in children, as evidenced by a recently published systematic review and meta-analysis.

The study exposed a disturbing and discouraging trend in the progression of myopia in children. Confinement measures such as lockdowns and social distancing were responsible for limiting outdoor activities and keeping children indoors for longer periods, which hindered the proper development of their visual function and exacerbated their already distressing myopia. With educational institutions and schools closed in response to the pandemic, this increase in the progression of myopia has intensified.

Furthermore, the consequences of COVID-19 on children's eye health have been compounded by inadequate access to eye care services, leading to more undiagnosed and untreated eye conditions, particularly in children. This is a distressing prospect, and it is crucial to prioritize the provision of comprehensive eye care services to alleviate the deleterious impact of this visual condition.

Moreover, this systematic review and meta-analysis highlights the worrying correlation between children from low socioeconomic backgrounds and the incidence of myopia progression amid the pandemic. This underlines the pressing need to promote outdoor activities and facilitate educational opportunities to minimize the impact of myopia and guarantee the visual health of children.

In some of the world's most vulnerable regions, such as Latin America and Africa, myopia is a latent problem. This is particularly true due to the high prevalence of myopia reported in some of these countries, which is comparable in some cases to the prevalence of myopia in certain regions of China characterized by the worst levels of myopia in the world.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a far-reaching impact on the progression of myopia in children, making it even more imperative to promote outdoor activities, educational opportunities, and provide access to comprehensive eye care services to mitigate the impact and safeguard the visual health of future generations.

Emiliano Teran.

To know more:

Li, M., Xu, L., Tan, C. S., Lanca, C., Foo, L. L., Sabanayagam, C., & Saw, S. M. (2022). Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic–Related Lifestyle on Myopia. The Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology, 11(5), 470-480.


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