Thu, Feb 21, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Ophthalmologist warns on bright phone screens

By Hung Chen-hung and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An undated photograph shows the eye of a woman who complained of red, teary eyes.

Photo copied by Hung Chen-hung, Taipei Times

An ophthalmologist on Monday warned people against using their smartphones for extended periods with screen brightness set to the highest level after a woman developed red eyes and experienced symptoms of corneal abrasion.

The 25-year-old woman, surnamed Chen (陳), in September last year sought medical help for red, teary eyes, as well as eye pain and floaters, said Hung Chi-ting (洪啟庭), an ophthalmologist at Fooyin University Hospital in Pingtung County.

An eye exam showed that her best corrected visual acuity was 0.5 and 0.6, he said.

Chen said that her work as a secretary requires her to stay in touch with clients outside the office, and to see her smartphone’s screen clearly, she usually adjusted screen brightness to the highest level, or 625 lux, Hung said.

While this enabled her to see the messages on her smartphone in daylight, the combination of blue light emitted by the device and ultraviolet light from the sun bouncing off the screen increases the risk of developing cataracts and retinopathy, and could also lead to pink eye or corneal abrasion, he said.

Chen also did not lower the screen brightness after work and watched online shows on her smartphone with the lights turned off, he said.

Over time, this could result in severe inflammation of the cornea, conjunctivitis and floaters, Hung added.

Chen’s symptoms were relieved after three to four days of treatment using topical antibiotics and steroids, as well as artificial tears and other eye drops and creams, the ophthalmologist said.

To prevent similar cases, smartphone users should not keep screen brightness at the highest level all day, look at their smartphone’s screen under sunlight or view the screen in complete darkness, Hung said.

Computer and smartphone screens should be viewed from a distance of 30cm to 40cm, and the level of brightness should not exceed 500 lux, he said.

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