Prolonged screen time, over dependence on electronic gadgets can increase Dry Eye Disease

Doctors said that people who have four hours of digital exposure have 90 percent chances of Dry eye disease.
The screen time among the children is increasing with every passing day due to unchecked overuse of smartphones.
The screen time among the children is increasing with every passing day due to unchecked overuse of smartphones. Flickr [Creative Commons]

Srinagar: Prolonged screen time, over dependence on electronic gadgets and spending more time on digital media can increase the Dry Eye Disease (DED) among children and youngsters in Kashmir, claim valley-based top ophthalmologists.

Doctors said that 50 percent of the population in Kashmir are suffering from Dry eye disease (DED). Once the ocular surface gets disturbed by Dry eye disease, it poses a risk to people’s eye health and makes them vulnerable to secondary infections like corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis and other eye related issues.

Doctors said that people who have four hours of digital exposure have 90 percent chances of Dry eye disease. It is commonly seen among youngsters, teenagers and children in the Valley.

Dr Sajad Khanday, Professor at Ophthalmology department, Government Medical College, Srinagar told Greater Kashmir that post- covid, there is a huge shift in the daily routine and habits of people of every age group.

Most of the people work in digital mode, with increased dependency on use of computers, phones, and tablets, causing a jump of nearly 50 percent in dry eye cases over the past few years.

“The symptoms of DED are burning sensation, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, mostly people are ignoring dry eye disease and do not use proper eye protection. Usually, such patients suffer from different eye diseases, if left untreated. In some cases, this condition may lead to eye inflammation,” he said.

Doctors said that people with Dry eye disease need a change in lifestyle. Some cases need medication and interventional procedures.

Dr Sheikh Sajad, HoD, Department of Ophthalmology at SKIMS, Bemina told Greater Kashmir that cases of Dry eyes are increasing at an alarming rate in Kashmir and the reasons are excessive usage of computers and other electronic gadgets for longer durations. 

“There is variable dry eye disease like moderate, mild and severe. Work from home, online classes, social media, habits of youngsters like late night exposure to electronic gadgets are the reasons for DED.  The other reasons for DED are some medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, Vitamin A deficiency and diabetes. People should eat a diet rich in vitamin A for eye health,” he said.

Dry eye disease is a condition where the tears can't provide adequate lubrication to eyes, either due to inadequate production or poor retention in the eyes. Individuals with this condition often present with a sensation of burning while working on electronic gadgets for prolonged periods, difficulty in keeping the eyes open with grittiness and foreign body sensation.

Doctors said that people should not ignore the symptoms of dry eyes like burning sensation in the eyes, itching, redness, blurring of vision, ocular discomfort, sensation in eyes etc.  "People should not leave it untreated as it can lead to pain, scarring and in a few cases vision loss as well. People should visit ophthalmologists and get themselves treated to avoid secondary infections and other complications," he said.

Recently, Kashmir Ophthalmologist Society conducted a Continued Medical Education (CME) on Dry eye disease which is alarming due to the digital eye exposure.

Deliberations were also made including discussions on various treatment modalities.

This academic event was attended by a huge gathering of Ophthalmologists from Medical colleges, Health department and private sector.

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