COVID-19 lockdowns may be making more kids near-sighted

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

Observational study: A study in which the subject is observed to see if there is a relationship between two or more things (eg: the consumption of diet drinks and obesity). Observational studies cannot prove that one thing causes another, only that they are linked.

People: This is a study based on research using people.

US and Chinese scientists say being stuck indoors during the pandemic may be affecting some kids' eyesight, making them more near-sighted. They looked at eye tests of more than 120,000 children aged 6 to 13 years from 10 Chinese elementary schools, and say home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a significant shift towards near-sightedness among children aged 6 to 8 years. The prevalence of near-sightedness increased 1.4 to 3 times in 2020 compared with the previous 5 years, they add. 

Journal/conference: JAMA Ophthalmology

Link to research (DOI): 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.6239

Organisation/s: Emory University, USA

Funder: This work was supported by grant 17ZXHLSY00020 from the Tianjin Municipal Science and Technology Commission and grant YDYYRCXM-B2018-02LC from Tianjin Medical University Eye Hospital High-Level Innovative Talent Program for Distinguished Scholar (Dr Qian).


  • JAMA
    Web page
    The URL will go live after the embargo ends

News for:


Media contact details for this story are only visible to registered journalists.