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Hanieh Mirhajianmoghadam, Amanda Piña, Lisa A. Ostrin; Objective and Subjective Behavioral Measures in Myopic and Non-Myopic Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(11):4. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.11.4.
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic required a shift to electronic devices for education and entertainment, with children more confined to home, which may affect eye growth and myopia. Our goal was to assess behaviors during COVID-19 in myopic and non-myopic children.
Parents completed a questionnaire for their children (ages 8.3 ± 2.4 years, n = 53) regarding visual activity in summer 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as during school time and the summer before COVID-19. Children also wore an Actiwatch for 10 days in summer 2020 for objective measures of light exposure, activity, and sleep. Data were analyzed with repeated-measures analysis of variance.
Subjective measures showed that during COVID-19, children exhibited increased electronic device use and decreased activity and time outdoors (P < 0.05 for all), while time spent doing near work was not different than during a typical school or summer session before COVID-19 (P > 0.05). Objective measures during COVID-19 showed that myopic children exhibited lower daily light exposure (P = 0.04) and less activity (P = 0.04) than non-myopic children.
Children demonstrated increased electronic device use and decreased activity and time outdoors during COVID-19, with myopic children exhibiting lower light exposure and activity than non-myopes. Long-term follow-up is needed to understand if these behavioral changes ultimately contribute to myopia progression.
Children's behaviors changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have implications in eye growth and myopia.
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