The effect of home confinements on myopic risk profile in European adolescents: The Generation R Study.

To battle the spreading of the COVID-19 virus, home confinement lockdowns were implemented at regular intervals. These measures have shown an increase in myopic incidence particularly in China, which applied a very strict lockdown and home confinement. The Netherlands used a so called “intelligent lockdown” which allowed children to go outside. This study evaluates the association between COVID restrictions and myopia risk factors in a European cohort of adolescents.

A total of 1101 participants (mean age 16.3 ± 3.65 yrs) of the population-based prospective birth-cohort study Generation R filled in a questionnaire about their behavior before, during, and after lockdown in the Netherlands.

During and after lockdown the children spent significantly more time online (+113 and +59min/day) on both handheld (+64 and +10 min/day) and other devices (+49 and +7 min/day), and on educational near work (+73 and +63min/day). Non-educational near work increased only significantly during lockdown (+176 min/day).

Time spent outside did not change significantly and was ±2 hours/day. The Dutch lockdown for COVID increased digitized near work in adolescents, but did not affect outdoor exposure. Children without myopia did not do better than those already myopic. Based on these results, we expect that the COVID pandemic will also lead to an increase in myopia prevalence and progression in European children, but to a lesser extent than in Asia.

Publication date

June 2, 2022


IOVS, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science


Sander Kneepkens; Clair Enthoven; Willem Tideman; Jan Roelof Polling; Caroline C.W. Klaver
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