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Young people's habits increase cases of cataract eye damage

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- More people under the age of 55 have developed cataracts due to long term use of electronic devices, an eye doctor said yesterday.

The B&B Eye Center Administrator Wang Meng-chi (王夢祺) said cataracts are a disease commonly associated with aging, especially for those over the age of 55. Wang said, however, that over the last few years more and more people under 55 are suffering from cataracts because of the prevalent use of electronic devices among this age group.

According to local reports, a 34-year-old nearsighted woman spent 72 hours in five days watching Empresses in the Palace, a popular costume drama, which led to cataracts and severe vision damage.

Eye doctor Ho Yi-tao (何一滔) said: “a cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. The main factors behind the formation of cataracts include long-term exposure to ultraviolet light and exposure to ionizing radiation.”

Ho cited another cataract case that involved a 46 year-old man. The individual, who is nearsighted, was forced to use electronic devices for an extended period of time due to work. This led to a sudden decrease in vision and the formation of cataracts on his left eye. Ho said the patient is now nearly half-blind, which has severely affected his life and work.

Ho said many people like to watch videos or play games on their mobile devices when taking public transportation or waiting for friends. Ho said this increases the workload on a person's eyes.

Wang said: “in order to prevent cataracts, people should not use electronic devices at a close distance for too long. Also, people should wear ultraviolet-protective sunglasses when doing outdoor activities.”

Ho said possible symptoms of suffering from cataracts are blurred vision or sudden myopia. People with these symptoms should receive medical treatment as soon as possible.

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