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Life in lockdown: impact of COVID‐19 lockdown measures on the lives of visually impaired school‐age children and their families in India

Gothwal, V. K., Kodavati, K. & Subramanian, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-8104-5312 (2021). Life in lockdown: impact of COVID‐19 lockdown measures on the lives of visually impaired school‐age children and their families in India. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, doi: 10.1111/opo.12928

Abstract

Purpose: The COVID-19 outbreak has adversely impacted all societal domains, including education. Home confinement, school closures, and distance learning impacted children, teachers, and parents’ lives worldwide. In this study, we aimed to examine the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on the lives, including education, of school-age children with vision impairment (VI) and their parents in India.

Methods: Primary and secondary school children with VI were recruited from the Institute for Vision Rehabilitation, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India. A qualitative research methodology, utilising a self-constructed questionnaire with open and closed questions and stem and leaf design was employed to explore the experiences of school closure and its impact on education, and attending online classes during the COVID-19 lockdown. Textual data from responses to the questions were analysed using content analysis to identify themes pertinent to the cohort studied.

Results: Forty-eight child-parent dyads were included. Median age of children was 10 years (range, 7-19 years) and 60% were male. Inherited retinal disorders were the major cause of VI (40%). Best-spectacle corrected visual acuity (better eye) ranged from 6/12 (0.3 logMAR) to 6/750 (2.09 logMAR). Six major themes were identified: (1) accessibility of technology (online learning and technology); (2) parental beliefs/concerns (harmful effects of technology, prioritization of normally sighted children, online classes considered a distraction); (3) support (peers, parents, teachers, private tuition); (4) socialization and physical activity, (5) socioeconomic status, and (6) near vision.

Conclusions: Our study provides an understanding of the adverse impact of the lockdown on the lives of children with VI and their parents, especially related to education in India. The study identified critical factors that affect online learning and the participation of children with VI in these sessions. Policy makers and educators should implement effective measures for supporting online classes.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics © 2021 The College of Optometrists. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Gothwal, V. K., Kodavati, K. and Subramanian, A. (2021). Life in lockdown: impact of COVID‐19 lockdown measures on the lives of visually impaired school‐age children and their families in India. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/opo.12928. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Publisher Keywords: children, COVID-19, education, lockdown, online education, technology, vision impairment
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Optometry & Visual Science
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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