On the eve of World Sight Day, the Ophthalmological Society of Taiwan yesterday published a list of five habits that can be damaging to eyesight and recommended three basic principles to protect the eyes.
A survey of 1,085 people conducted by the society and a vision care products company last month found that the five most common unhealthy habits for eyes are: excessive viewing of electronics without enough rest (80 percent); not seeking medical attention for eye discomfort (75 percent); insufficient lighting (60 percent); viewing electronic devices while lying down (46 percent); and viewing electronic devices while moving (31 percent).
Society secretary-general Tsai Ching-yao (蔡景耀) said people in Taiwan view electronic devices for nearly eight hours per day on average, which means that their eyes remain tense for about one-third of the day.
The poll found that of respondents who are in the habit of viewing electronic devices while bowing their head low, lying down or while moving, 57.8 percent have been doing so for more than a year, while 20.4 percent have had the habit for more than four years, he said.
The survey found that 48.2 percent of respondents said they have felt eye discomfort — exhaustion, sore eyes, headaches or blurred vision — after viewing electronic devices for less than 30 minutes, but 75.4 percent said they did not consult a doctor, while 29.6 percent still did not see a doctor, despite symptoms continuing for more than a year, Tsai said.
Young and middle-aged adults accounted for the majority of people excessively viewing electronic devices who neglected to see a doctor after eye discomfort began, the society said.
While older people are more likely to develop cataracts, young and middle-aged people should still see an ophthalmologist if they feel discomfort in their eyes, Tsai said, adding that delayed treatment could lead to macular degeneration, retinal hemorrhaging or cataracts.
The survey also found that 77.36 percent of people older than 40 do not have eye examinations performed on a regular basis.
The society urged people to avoid viewing electronic devices while moving, in areas with insufficient lighting or directly under the sun.
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