Internet use and television viewing in children and its association with vision loss: a major public health problem


Submitted: 23 January 2012
Accepted: 26 February 2012
Published: 30 May 2012
Abstract Views: 1948
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Authors

  • Abdulbari Bener Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, Hamad Medical Corporation, Hamad General Hospital, Qatar; Department Evidence for Population Health Unit, School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, The University of Manchester, UK; Departments of Public Health and Medical Education, Weill Cornell Medical College, Qatar, .
  • Huda S. Al-Mahdi Department of Ophthalmology, Rumailah and Hamad General Hospitals, Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar.
Little is known about the distribution of eye and vision conditions among school children in Qatar. The aim of the study was to examine the effects of excessive internet use and television viewing on low vision and its prevalence with socio-demographic characteristics. This is a cross-sectional study which was carried out in the public and private schools of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education of the State of Qatar from September 2009 to April 2010. A total of 3200 students aged 6-18 years were invited to take part of whom 2586 (80.8%) agreed. A questionnaire, that included questions about socio-demographic factors, internet use, and television viewing and computer games, co-morbid factors, and family history and vision assessment, was designed to collect information from the students. This was distributed by the school authorities. Of the school children studied (n=2586), 52.8% were girls and 47.2% boys. The overall prevalence of low vision was 15.2%. The prevalence of low vision was significantly higher in the age group 6-10 years (17.1%; P=0.05). Low vision was more prevalent among television viewers (17.2%) than in infrequent viewers (14.0%). The proportion of children wearing glasses was higher in frequent internet users and television viewers (21.3%). Also, low vision without aid was higher in frequent viewers. The study findings revealed a greater prevalence of low vision among frequent internet users and television viewers. The proportion of children wearing glasses was higher among frequent viewers. The prevalence of low vision decreased with increasing age.

Supporting Agencies

Qatar National Research Fund- QNRF UREP 06-022-3-010.

Bener, A., & Al-Mahdi, H. S. (2012). Internet use and television viewing in children and its association with vision loss: a major public health problem. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 3(1), e16. https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2012.e16

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