The COVID-19 pandemic has become a global health issue and has significantly impacted university education. As a result, learning methods have been shifted to be delivered through online learning. Online learning has increased reliance on computer screens, which can cause visual discomfort and may cause or exacerbate headaches due to prolonged screen exposure. However, time spent using electronic devices has not yet been examined in relation to the online learning experience.
This study assessed the online learning experiences and reported headaches associated with screen exposure time among health sciences university students.
A cross-sectional study was conducted among a convenience sample of 353 students at Saudi University. Online learning experiences, screen time exposure, and reported headache questionnaires were used to collect the data.
Students were moderately satisfied with the online learning experience. Nevertheless, they faced many challenges with online learning that affected their communication efficacy, and they preferred that blended learning be continued. In addition, this study found a high prevalence of headache (65.72%) and a high screen exposure time among the studied students (52.69%). Increased screen time exposure is linked with increased headache and migraine reporting among students (p < 0.05).
Headache is a common health issue among health professional students, and it can harm their academic performance and quality of life, especially related to online learning. Greater awareness of headaches, stress reduction and prevention programs, and ergonomic practices to deal with headaches are essential. Blended learning approaches can improve student learning and performance in health science courses.

© 2022. The Author(s).