Fri, Oct 02, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Taiwanese eyes at risk with screen time, experts say

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese spend an average of 8.4 hours staring at screens every day, about 1.6 times the average of 5.3 hours in 2007, the Ophthalmology Society of Taiwan said yesterday.

Excessive screen time can lead to cataracts, doctors of the society said.

One week before World Sight Day — the second Thursday of October each year — to draw global attention to blindness and vision impairment, the group released results of a survey of more than 2,000 adults over the age of 20.

Society secretary-general Tsai Ching-yao (蔡景耀) said the survey showed that about 55 percent of respondents look at TV, computer and smartphone screens for more than seven hours a day — a rate linked to higher occurrence of cataracts, based on a study by the National Health Research Institutes.

Society chairman Weng Lin-chung (翁林仲) said that more than half of respondents aged between 20 and 54 spent more than nine hours, while nearly 40 percent of respondents aged from 45 to 55 spent more than 11 hours in front of screens.

Data from the National Health Insurance system showing an increase of more than 30 percent in the incidence of cataracts, glaucoma and retinopathy in people aged from 20 to 54 show eye degeneration is a growing problem among young and middle-aged adults, Weng said.

The survey also showed that many people have bad habits when using screens, such as watching them while on a moving vehicle, lying flat or on their sides, as well as forgetting to rest their eyes after 30 minutes of continuous use and not getting regular check-ups.

People over the age of 40 should have an eye examination once a year, and people with diabetes should have one every six months, society member Sun Chi-chin (孫啟欽) said.

People with highly myopic eyes should have an examination once per year, Sun added.

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