Thesis subject

MSc thesis: Is the Covid crisis leading to more visual impairment in children?

V. Iyer i.s.m. M. Berghuis, M. L’Hoir, GGDNOG and Wageningen University

Start:                                As soon as possible

Supervisors:                    Floortje Kanits, Monique L’Hoir

Location:                          Global Nutrition or Communication, Health and Life Sciences


During an epidemic such as Covid-19, children, as a vulnerable group, are physically and mentally affected due to lifestyle adjustments (GGDNOG surveys, 2020). Working behind a screen can offer a solution in terms of education, but excessive use can also pose risks such as low vision, read near sightedness (myopia)1. As long as screen time is handled with clear rules, the risk of myopia is in all may be a lot smaller. Near-sightedness (myopia) is a prescription for glasses where objects far away cannot be clearly seen, but nearby objects can. Myopia increases as children grow and can rapidly increase in a short period of time and lead to major consequences, especially when the spectacle strength is above -6 dioptres.

A new technology is the 'Easee' app. This is an app that allows adults to measure their eyes online at home. A few meters away from the PC can be measured whether an adult needs glasses. The measurement data can be sent to the user, so that the strength of any glasses is known. The UMCU examines whether the test is reliable and whether the measurements are correct. Currently, the UMCU is also investigating how patients (adults) can use this technology.

Exploring and possibly validating this app for children aged 9/10, and its use in Youth Health Care (JGZ) may bring benefits from the perspective of a (possible) increase in myopia in children. Youth health care (JGZ) now uses the so-called E-hooks, a valid and useful method for measuring the eyes in children. This research is carried out at relatively large intervals and supplementation with an app could benefit prevention. Identifying myopia and anticipating possible consequences, especially given the unfamiliarity in the current pandemic, seems important.

The aim of this study is to determine the current prevalence of myopia and its relationship with possible causes in 9/10 year old children; and researching the usefulness of the 'Easee' app or other existing apps in the JGZ in the prevention and diagnosis of myopia.      

Research question

What is the prevalence of myopia in 9/10 year olds during the Covid crisis (2020/2021) and has it increased (partly based on information from ophthalmologists), and is it still increasing?

1. What is the relationship between (an increase in) myopia, average screen time of children, playing / exercising outside and environmental factors?

2. Is the 'Easee' app valid and usable in JGZ has it an added value next to the use of E-hooks test in 9/10 year old children and how can such app be implemented in JGZ?

Dutch or English speaking students are welcome.


1.           Iyer V, Landsmeer EA, Reijneveld SA. [Responsible use of screens: recommendations to limit myopia in children and young people]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2020;164.

2.           Stevens G, Boer M et al., Gezondheid en Welzijn van jongeren in Nederland. Utrecht/Den Haag. Universiteit Utrecht, Trimbos Instituut, SCP, 2017.

3.           Trimbos Instituut. Voorkomen van problematisch gedrag

4.           Oogfonds, schermtijd.

5.           AJN. Factsheet beeldschermgebruik van dichtbij. Gevolgen voor de gezondheid in het digitale tijdperk, 2019 file:///D:/media%20gebruik/Factsheet%20beeldschermgebruik%20van%20dichtbij%202019.pdf