The high mortality associated with Covid-19 (65 lakh deaths worldwide, including 5.2 lakh in India) has masked a quieter ‘pandemic’ sweeping across the globe: digital eye strain (DES). The calling card of this shadow pandemic is myopia or nearsightedness, especially among children. Myopia is as old as mankind, but what is new is its rapidly rising numbers. Two studies done by L V Prasad Eye Hospital, Hyderabad, roughly 20 years apart, underline why myopia qualifies as a public health crisis. In 2000, only three or four out of 100 children had myopia, but last year’s estimate is almost 20%, or one in every five children. Various government initiatives have been announced to catch myopia early. From November onwards, the Maharashtra government will be sending an army of optometrists to conduct door-to-door surveys in rural areas to check for refractive errors amongst children.
But India seems better off than other Asian countries. A BBC report said Singapore is “the myopia capital of the world” with around 80% prevalence in young adults. East Asian countries like South Korea, Taiwan and China have 84% to 97% prevalence among children and teenagers. In the US, about 40% of adults are short sighted, up from 25% in 1971. A recent study from Japan, published in ‘Nature’, said: “By the year 2050, myopia and high myopia are respectively predicted to affect approximately 50% and 10% of the world population (almost 500 crore and 100 crore people).’’ India’s relatively lower myopia prevalence perhaps stems from poor testing. “In urban areas, schools conduct eye checks for all students and that helps detect myopia early. Also, parents who are myopic are aware and take their children for eye checks,” said ophthalmic surgeon Dr Girija Suresh from Fortis Hospital, Mumbai. But in small towns and rural India, regular screening for children is not easy due to poor infrastructure and lack of trained manpower, although innovative methods like LV Prasad Eye Hospital’s card holder-like device allow anyone to conduct eye checks.
There is no doubt among doctors that the Covid pandemic worsened the myopia crisis with DES mainly due to “creations of artificial settings in which children were at home and in front of screens for long durations”. A study, Digital Eye Strain Among Kids (DESK), from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh published in the indexed ‘Journal of Ophthalmology’ earlier this year highlighted that the screen time of children increased sharply from 1.9 (± 1.1) hours earlier to 3.9 (± 1.9) hours during the pandemic. And myopia progressed in 62.4% of the children in the study during the pandemic as compared with 45.9% before the pandemic.
Dr T P Lahane, who heads the soon-to-be-launched Maharashtra Mission against preventable causes of blindness, blamed the excessive use of gadgets for the myopia epidemic. “There is also a ‘myopic shift’ in the population. Just as we saw a change in the height of Indians, a similar change is occurring with eyesight now,” he said. Poor nutrition, inadequate sleep and a preference for the “indoors” have all played a role.
Dr Ramesh Kekunnaya from the paediatric ophthalmology department of L V Prasad Eye Hospital that sees a minimum of 200 children with eyesight problems every day, said, “Lifestyle reasons are the main culprit. When we were young, our parents had to find us and then force us to get home, but nowadays children must be coaxed to go out in the sun for even an hour.”
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7. LINKS TO OTHER SITES
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11. NOTICE OF CHANGE
EFFECTIVE AS OF FEBRUARY 01, 2021
The tionet.in website (“Website”) is hosted and operated by The Indian Optician (TIO); Registered in A-99 Defence Colony, New Delhi 110024, India.
The information contained on this Website may be altered or amended at any time without prior notification or obligation.
This Website should not be regarded as an infallible guide to The Indian Optician products and services, nor does it constitute an offer for the sale of any particular brand.
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INFORMATION WE COLLECT
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1. When you create The Indian Optician (TIO) account at tionet.in, we collect your Name, Email address, Password and Gender (optional). We collect these basic details so that you can access your subscriptions on multiple devices. Also, when you change your device, these details will help you sync you’re tionet account and get access to your subscriptions.
2. When you purchase a magazine/subscription on our website, we additionally collect your Address (with Pin Code) and Card details in certain scenarios. This is done to validate the transactions and we shall clear such data when validations are no longer required. Please note that we don’t store your card details and they are stored only by the payment gateway.
3. When you contact us, we collect your email address to provide services and answer your queries.
B. When you send gift cards or subscriptions, we may collect the information you provide about the gift recipients, including name and email address. We will use such information to fulfil your requests, provide the relevant service, or for anti-fraud purposes.
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SHARING OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
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SECURITY OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
We allow you to limit access to your account via a password for your privacy and security. If you access your account via a third party site or service, you may have additional or different sign-on protections via that third party site or service. You are responsible for ensuring against unauthorized access to your account and Personal Information by selecting and protecting your password and/or other sign-on mechanism appropriately and limiting access to your computer and browser by signing off after you have finished accessing your account.
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In the unlikely event that Company believes that the security of your Personal Information in its possession or control may have been compromised, Company may seek to notify you. If notification is appropriate, Company may notify you by email, messaging to your device, or other means within 72 hours of data compromise.
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Company allows you to access the following information about you for the purpose of viewing, and in certain situations, updating that information: email address, name, location and marketing preferences. This list may change as the Service changes. The information you can view, update, and delete may change as the Website changes. If you have any questions about viewing or updating information, we have on file about you, please contact us at email@example.com or at The Indian Optician., A-99 Defence colony, New Delhi – 110024
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RETURN AND REFUNDS
If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with The Indian Optician magazine subscription, you may claim a full refund of your subscription, by contacting us within 30 days of your transaction processing date for online subscription and print subscription.
You may cancel your Subscription at any time during your subscription term. If you choose to cancel your Subscription, please note that we do not issue refunds on magazines already delivered. You may request a refund for all magazines not yet delivered, by contacting us at email@example.com. The amount to be refunded will be a pro rata value based on the number of magazines already issued. Money will be refunded as below:
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