Lhe director of the School of Optometry, Langis Michaud, said in a recent note that the increase in the time spent in front of screens of all kinds risks impairing the quality of vision, including among students due to the ‘Distance Learning.
Professor Michaud, who has a doctorate in optometry, recalls the existence of computer vision syndrome (SVO), which includes all of the vision problems associated with the use of a screen over prolonged periods. He acknowledges that there is not an abundance of serious studies on this subject, but in December he produced an article based on a survey of 10,000 people that put the syndrome’s prevalence at nearly 65% of the population working on screen.
It seems inconceivable to Professor Michaud to impose three-hour lessons on screen with a 15-minute break. For eye health, it would be much better, in his opinion, to take short breaks every half an hour, the time to let the eyes rest.
The Optometry Clinic of the University of Montreal, which is open at 75% of its capacity by virtue of its essential service status, is seeing more and more cases of early myopia resulting in particular from overuse of screens. Among this clientele are children barely 8 or 9 years old.
Langis Michaud reminds us that high myopia is a risk factor for conditions causing blindness.
The cell phone screen forces the gaze to be focused on a very near object, amplifying misalignment of binocular vision when it is brought 18 centimeters from the eyes.
The electronic tablet poses similar problems, but less acute, because it is used about 25 centimeters from the eyes. In the latter case, the lighting seems more problematic, as for the computer, which is even further away, from 33 to 40 centimeters.
Professor Michaud’s note indicates that staring at a luminous surface for a long time increases the risks, especially if the ambient light is attenuated. He asks to avoid looking at a screen in the dark at all costs.