Fri, Jan 22, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Prolonged use of smart devices may cause dry eyes

By Chang Hsuan-che and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Dry eye syndrome may result from prolonged and excessive viewing of electronics devices, an eye specialist in Taichung said.

Chen Pei-ren (陳沛仁), director of the ophthalmology department at Tungs’ Taichung Metro Harbor General Hospital, said that consumer electronic devices can strain a user’s eyes, causing dry eyes requiring medical attention.

Dry eyes occur when the surface of the eye is not adequately lubricated by tears due to decreased tear production or increased tear evaporation, he said.

Common dry eye symptoms include dryness, itching, a sensation of having something in your eyes, burning or tightness, as well as sticky secretions or hypersensitivity to stimuli, the opthalmologist said.

Severe cases of dry eye syndrome may cause the cornea to form scratches that affect vision, he added.

The condition has become more frequent with the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, Chen said, citing as an example a 27-year-old patient, surnamed Shen (沈), who developed the syndrome from using mobile devices eight hours a day for more than one year.

She underwent a regiment of eye drops and mandated rest to recover, Chen said.

Limiting exposure to smart screen devices is important in dry eye prevention, particularly when it is dark, Chen said.

Computer or smart device users should take five to 10 minutes of rest for every 30 minutes of viewing, he said.

Dry eye syndrome has a variety of causes, such as eye strain from excessive monitor viewing, reading, aging, menopause and autoimmune diseases, he said.

In addition to addressing the underlying medical issues and reducing electronic device usage, Chen advised taking fish oil, flaxseed oil or changing to a diet rich in unsaturated fats.

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