01 Jan 2019, 28(1):68-74
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) encompasses a constellation of ocular and extraocular symptoms in computer users who either habitually or compulsively use computers for long periods of time. Electronic devices such as computers, smart phones, and tablets emit blue light (400-490 nm) from their light-emitting diodes and produce electromagnetic fields, both of which interfere with the circadian rhythm.
This study aims to assess the awareness, knowledge, and impact on sleep quality of CVS among medical students.
Materials and Methods:
This study included 500 medical students. All participants anonymously filled up a pro forma including sociodemographic details and three questionnaires that (a) tested for awareness and knowledge about CVS, (b) tested for CVS, and (c) the Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI), respectively. Data from 463 complete questionnaires were analyzed.
The mean (±standard deviation) age of the 463 individuals was 19.55 (±1.04) years. The prevalence of CVS was 77.5%. The prevalence was higher in boys (80.23%) compared to girls (75.87%), but the difference was not statistically significant. Only 34.1% of the medical students were aware of CVS. Good knowledge regarding various aspects of CVS was observed in 22.46% individuals, while 53.99% and 23.56% had average and poor knowledge, respectively. Poor sleep quality was present in 75.49% of individuals with CVS compared to 50.96% of students without CVS; the difference was statistically significant (odd’s ratio [95% confidence interval]: 0.338 [0.214-0.531]). All the components of PSQI score, except components 1 and 6, had statistically significantly (P < 0.05) higher values in individuals with CVS as compared to individuals without CVS.
There is high prevalence but low level of awareness and knowledge about CVS among medical students. CVS is significantly associated with poor sleep quality in medical students.
One of the limitations of the study was that this was a cross-sectional study; hence, it just presented a snapshot regarding CVS at one point in time without giving much idea about the causative factors. The symptoms were only self-reported, and there was no ophthalmic examination to make the diagnosis of CVS (especially when CVS is a diagnosis of exclusion today as almost everyone is working on computers).
The level of awareness and knowledge of CVS among medical students can be increased by incorporation of the topic of CVS and related ergonomics in the 1st year MBBS itself by revision of medical syllabus. Sleep education programs should be held as there is a need to improve sleep hygiene (behavior improving quality and quantity of sleep).
Further investigation on the pathophysiological effects on exposure to electronic devices is warranted because the acute responses to the short-wavelength light emitted by them may be just the tip of iceberg and may have longer-term health effects than previously considered.
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