ARVO

ARVO

Source:

Gantz L, et al. Digital eye strain symptoms during online university learning in Israel and the USA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Presented at: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting; May 1-7, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
May 26, 2021
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High rate of digital eyestrain seen in college students during pandemic

Source:

Gantz L, et al. Digital eye strain symptoms during online university learning in Israel and the USA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Presented at: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting; May 1-7, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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A large proportion of university students in Israel and the U.S. reported eye fatigue, eyestrain, ocular discomfort, headaches and burning eyes when evaluated during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to findings presented at the virtual Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting.

Online university studies during the pandemic have resulted in an increase in the amount of time students spend in front of a digital display, Liat Gantz, a senior lecturer at the Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem, and Mark Rosenfield, of the College of Optometry at the State University of New York, stated in their abstract.

One hundred 60 Israeli students and 163 U.S. students took the Dry Eye Syndrome and Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaires. The Israeli students spent 18±9 hours a week and U.S. students spent 15±5 a week on online studies, 7±7 and 9±3 daily hours on the computer, and 6±9 and 4±3 daily hours on cell phones, respectively.

The Israeli students experienced a higher rate of symptoms during or immediately after online studies, according to the abstract: 60% vs. 48% experienced eye fatigue, 58% vs. 31% experienced eye strain, 44% vs. 31% reported ocular discomfort, 43% vs. 26% reported headaches, 39% vs. 34% reported dry eye and 40% vs. 22% experienced burning.

During the question-and-answer session, Gantz stated that she and Rosenfield believe that cultural and environmental factors caused the differences seen in the two cohorts. The prevalence of medium to severe dry eye in these groups were “quite similar to population-based studies reporting prevalence of dry eye in these two countries,” Gantz said.

“The prevalence of dry eye syndrome far surpasses the typical prevalence of mild to severe dry eye,” the researchers concluded, at 15% in the Israeli students and 7% in the U.S. students.

Health care providers should educate individuals who spend many hours in front of digital displays on how to reduce these symptoms, they said.