Children watch TV, doctors see trouble

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Even as many parents glow with pride seeing their kid’s nimble fingers work on a Nintendo game, what they fail to realise is sitting for hours in front of the computer may soon result in the child not being able to see what is written on the blackboard.

Ophthalmologists are worried at the increase in the number of children with poor eyesight.
They blame it on the lack of supervision by parents who let their wards watch TV from close and spend hours in front of the computer playing video games.

Eminent eye specialist Amar Agarwal said, “A couple of months ago we conducted free eye check-up for 5 lakh school kids at Kancheepuram and found over 20 per cent had vision problems needing immediate attention.”

The doctor recalled many parents confessing that their children spent long hours before the television and computer.

“Most kids do not go out, preferring to spend time watching TV. Parents should encourage their children to go out to play,” Dr Agarwal said.

He said while watching TV or working on the computer, it was essential to take a break.
Doctors warn that prolonged vision problems can take a toll on a child’s self-confidence. “Many kids who cannot see properly don’t open up to parents and tend to withdraw from people. Their ability to focus in class will reduce and they would refuse to participate in extra-curricular activity,” said pediatric ophthalmologist Shalini Kumaresan.

Parents should look out for signs of vision problems such as constant blinking, frequent rubbing of eyes, watching TV from close range or making spelling errors while writing. “These kids should immediately be taken for a check-up. Delay would lead to permanent damage,” said Dr Kumaresan.

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