Fri, Feb 04, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Proper eye care, rest advised over long holiday break

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

Mahjong and other board games with family and friends are a popular activity during the Lunar New Year holiday, but doctors warn that without adequate rest, the games can be harmful to the eyes.

It is customary for old and young alike to take their hong bao (red envelopes filled with cash) and try their luck at a game of mahjong, dice or cards. Others like to gather around with their families to chat, eat or watch TV. These activities often last until the wee hours and many people neglect to let their eyes rest or take their contact lenses out.

Ophthalmologists said such negligence could damage the eyes, as overuse can cause inflammation of the cornea or conjunctiva.

Lu Da-wen (呂大文), chief of glaucoma services at Tri--Service General Hospital’s Department of Ophthalmology, said people who don’t care for their eyes or contact lenses properly could get an eye infection or inflammation.

“Many people get complacent over the Lunar New Year holiday because they are so eager to play games or be with their families that they forget the rules of proper eye care,” Lu said.

Wearing contact lenses for extended periods could decrease the amount of oxygen to the cornea, causing blood vessels in front of the eyes to expand, resulting in the eyes appearing red. In severe cases, the eyes could become infected and eyesight could be damaged, he said.

Wearing contact lenses for more than 12 hours is considered excessive, he said.

When taking a nap, contact lens users should remove them first, just in case one ends up sleeping for a longer period of time, he said.

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